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“Defence lawyers shamelessly claimed their clients committed a robbery viewed as ‘Robin Hood taking jewels for the poor’!”

Paris, 4 July 2021

Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled “working since the 1980s with Roger Pinto – founder of SIONA for the defence of French Jews – who, in 2017, was himself a victim of antisemitic violence.”

Then 84-year-old Pinto, his 74-year-old wife and their 52-year-old son were tied and beaten for two and a half hours in their suburban Paris home.

The perpetrators screamed “Jews have money, we have nothing,” but the lawyers’ defence claimed the case to be “only another robbery as Robin Hoods,” seeking to cut the charge of “aggravated hate crimes.”

“If they had been granted early parole, they would have been given the chance to repeat anti-Jewish violence in freedom. These cowardly aggressors would have become neighbourhood ‘heroes’ encouraging copy-cat attacks,” argued Samuels.

He added, “we commend the courageous and lawful ruling of the Paris northern suburb court, in recognizing a hate crime, issuing prison sentences from four years to bystanders, to 8 and 10 years to followers and 12 years for the lead attacker... The condemned have no right of appeal.”

“The Tribunal of Seine-Saint-Denis has made jurisprudential history. May it end the hypocrisy of magistrates rapping the wrists of so-called ‘victims of poverty and racism,' or the exoneration of perpetrators ‘under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.’ The attacks on Jews, because they are Jews, can now be proven as hate crimes,” concluded Samuels.

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“There is no Freedom without Justice.” (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)