The trial that will determine the fate of a gang of nine men who are accused of beating and robbing a Jewish Parisian family in their own home has begun.
The alleged attack occurred on 8th September 2017, when, in the middle of the night, David Pinto found that the electricity in the family home had gone out. Going downstairs to see what the problem was, he fell into a trap allegedly set by the gang, who had cut off the electricity supply apparently in order to ambush whomever entered through the cellar door to check on the energy metre.
Three men then forced their way in, bound Mr Pinto and dragged him upstairs, where they then bound and gagged Mireille and Roger Pinto, his 73-year-old mother and his 83-year-old father.
“As I struggled, the first man threw me down,” Mrs Pinto later said. “He hit me. I really thought he wanted to rape me. The second one kicked me.”
The gang is accused of beating Roger Pinto into unconsciousness. As he came to, Mr Pinto reportedly recalled one of his assailants telling 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.”
Mr Pinto went on: “The three men had a screwdriver and a knife, which they constantly threatened us with. They threatened to kill us. That was unbearable. These thugs took our credit cards, took all the goods we had, jewellery from my wife.”
Whilst the gang allegedly proceeded to burgle the residence, the family was tied up and locked in a room. After several hours, Mrs Pinto finally managed to call emergency services.
However, lawyers for the defendants claim that the assault was not antisemitic in nature, as the assailants did not believe the family to be rich based on their religion, with one of the members even claiming not to have known that the family was Jewish.
The lawyer for the Pinto family rejected this claim, sating: “The Pinto family was assaulted because they are a Jewish family…the attackers told them, ‘You are Jewish, so you have money.’”
The trial is expected to last for nine days and will be closely monitored by the Jewish community, especially in the wake of the disappointing decision taken in the Sarah Halimi trial.
In April, France’s Court of Cassation ruled that Sarah Halimi’s killer could not be held to stand trial due to being high on cannabis whilst committing the murder. Campaign Against Antisemitism held a rally in solidarity with French Jews in opposition to the Court of Cassation’s ruling to let Sarah Halimi’s murderer go free.