NICE, France (JTA) — A French judge preparing a trial of Arab teenagers who allegedly assaulted a Jewish youth outside a synagogue omitted hate crime charges from a draft indictment, a watchdog group said.
The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Ant-Semitism, or BNVCA, protested in a statement on Tuesday the omission from the indictment of the suspects in the Feb. 28 assault in Montmagny near Paris.
Jewish groups have praised the French authorities efforts to protect Jews but also criticized the judiciary’s perceived failure to address the aggravated element of hate crimes in several cases of violence against Jews.
In the Montmagny assault, the alleged attackers, aged 14 and 15, called the Jewish boy, his sister and brother “dirty Jews” at the park where they were playing, Le Parisien reported, based on police sources. According to BNVCA, all four suspects are of Arab descent. They allegedly beat the boy with a stick and took away his kippah, which he was wearing when they approached him, he said.
BNVCA said it was “dismayed” by the judge’s decision, which the group said runs “totally contrary” to the law.
In recent months, BNVCA have also criticized a judge’s initial omission of hate crime charges from the murder trial of a Muslim man who confessed to killing his Jewish neighbor in April while screaming about Allah and calling her a demon. The hate crime charge was ultimately added to the indictment.