A 38 year old man, Reda Daam, who engaged in an antisemitic assault against a young Jewish graffiti artist in the French city of Strasbourg for wearing a t-shirt containing the name of ‘Israel’ was released by a court following a hearing on Wednesday.
Daam, who did not attend the proceedings at the Strasbourg criminal court, was cleared of the crime of committing extortion aggravated by religious hatred. However, the public prosecutor’s office intends to bring fresh charges against the assailant for the crime of “public insult.”
The victim’s attorney, Raphael Nisand, observed that the credibility of the French judiciary’s response to antisemitic outrages was again being tested.
“If we leave it at that, this decision would be highly scandalous,” Nisand told the AFP news agency.
The assault occurred on Aug. 26 as the victime was working in the center of Strasbourg on a project commissioned by the municipality. He was verbally insulted and jostled by two men after they noticed him wearing a t-shirt that displayed the names of several countries and cities, including Israel.
Reda Daam aggressively told him, “You are a Jew, you have no place here,” before telling the artist to change his shirt — which he duly did.
But when he returned to complete his work, the victim was confronted again by Daam, who grabbed one of his paint canisters and sprayed offensive slogans on the ground, including “forbidden to Jews” and “bitch.”
Nisand reported the incident to his manager at the Strasbourg City Council, and filed a complaint with police.
The assault on Nisand was widely condemned by politicians, including Josiane Chevalier, the prefect of the Bas-Rhin region where Strasbourg is located, who called it an “intolerable act.”