A French court has sentenced a nine-member gang who violently kidnapped a Jewish family to sentences of up to 12 years in prison.
The Assize Court in Seine-Saint-Denis, located near Paris, tries some of the most egregious crimes committed in France.
The judge ruled in this case that the gang receive sentences ranging from 4 to 12 years in jail.
The lengthiest sentence was handed down to the ringleader of the three main assailants who attacked Mireille Pinto, 75, Roger Pinto, 89, and their 52-year old son David.
The elder Pinto is a well known leader of the French Jewish community.
The assailants threatened the Jewish family with a knife and a screwdriver. They also beat them and held them hostage for hours while they ransacked their house in Paris suburb Livry-Gargan searching for valuables and cash.
They only found 500 euros but also stole credit cards and jewellery, some of which they tore directly from Mireille’s neck. They also stole cutlery.
The other two kidnappers received seven and eight year sentences.
The attackers’ defense lawyers said that her clients would not appeal the sentences.
“The aggravating circumstance of anti-Semitism was confirmed by the court of Assizes, which will set a precedent,” said Marc Bensimon, the Pinto family’s attorney.
Bensimon called the verdict a “victory for the law.”
The six other members of the gang who were handed the stolen money and valuables received four year sentences.
At around noon on September 8, 2017, Roger Pinto’s wife Mireille Pinto phoned the fire department who transferred her to the police. She was reportedly in a state of shock when she told them that her husband, 52-year old son David and herself were being held hostage by three men in their home in Livry-Gargan.
The three men, wearing scarves over their faces, tied up Mireille and David Pinto and then proceed to threaten them with a knife and screwdriver before ransacking the house for two hours. They were apparently obsessed with “finding money.”They threatened the hostages with taunts of “We will kill you” if they didn’t cooperate with their demands.
At the start of the attack, the assailants beat Roger Pinto unconscious. When he came to, he remembered hearing one of the gang members say to him, “You are Jewish, we know that the Jews have a lot of money and you will give us what you have. If you do not give us what we ask you, we’ll kill you.”
As anti-Semitism has increased to dangerous levels in France in recent years, one of the more common anti-Jewish stereotypes is that Jews are all rich and have a habit of keeping large amounts of cash in their houses.