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Appeal by Killers of Holocaust Survivor to Drop Antisemitism Charge Rejected by French Court

Two men accused of murdering an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor in Paris in 2018 have failed in their court bid to have the aggravating circumstance of antisemitism removed from the charge sheet.

Lawyers for 31-year-old Yacine Mihoub — one of the two men charged with the violent killing of Mireille Knoll in her Paris apartment on March 23, 2018 — argued that the accusation of antisemitism had been fabricated by his partner in the killing, 26-year-old Alex Carrimbacus, who was said to have told police that Mihoub believed Jews were wealthy and therefore legitimate targets for robbery.

However, the Paris Court of Appeal rejected the plea on Thursday, concluding that a discussion between the two assailants that invoked antisemitic tropes about Jews was “plausible.”

Gilles-William Goldnadel — the lawyer for Mireille Knoll’s family — told French media outlets that the court decision had come as a “relief.”

Thursday’s appeal followed the announcement in July that Mihoub and Carrimbacus would stand trial on a charge of murder aggravated by antisemitism. The two men were charged with having murdered Knoll — who survived the mass deportation by the Nazis of the Jews of Paris in 1942 — after deciding that she would have plenty of money as she was Jewish.

Firefighters who arrived at Knoll’s building on the night of her murder to answer an emergency call discovered her partially-burned body with 11 stab wounds.

French media outlets reported that Mihoub and Carrimbacus — who met each other in prison — possessed lengthy criminal records for offenses that included theft, possession of narcotics and violence. Mihoub additionally had a conviction for sexual assault.

A police investigation following Knoll’s death established that Mihoub was attracted to Islamist ideas and slogans, and was already known to the authorities for having praised the Kouachi brothers, who carried out the deadly terrorist attack at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

According to Le Figaro, Mihoub was also “compulsively addicted to antisemitic websites and a staunch defender of Hamas.”