Vandals Deface Offices of Lawyers Defending French Jews' Muslim Killers

The graffiti attack comes during the appeal trial for the 17 people convicted in the 2006 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 23-year-old French Jew targeted because of his religion.

PARIS - Two Jewish lawyers defending the Muslim killers of Jewish Frenchman Ilan Halimi awakened this week to find their offices spray painted with the the words "capo" and stars of David.

The graffiti attack on the law offices came during the appeal trial for the 17 members of the so-called "gang of barbarians" convicted in the 2006 kidnapping, torture and murder of Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew targeted because of his religion.

Ilan Halimi (AP photo, File)
AP Photo / Benoit Tessier, File

Halimi was held captive for more than three weeks in a Paris suburb and was unconscious when he was found naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks. He died on the way to the hospital.

Youssouf Fofana, the leader of the gang responsible for the anti-Semitic murder which shocked France, was given a life sentence in prison. His sentence is not being appealed But other members of the gang got much lighter sentences - including Fofana's main accomplices, Samir Ait Abdelmalek and Jean-Christophe Soumbou, who were sentenced to 15 and 18 years in prison, respectively, and the young woman who lured Halimi into the gang's trap, who got nine years.

The French Justice Ministry appealed the light sentences in 2009 after an outcry from the Jewish community and the trial, which opened last month, is expected to last throughout the month and into December.

Dorothee Bisaccia-Bernstein, 31, one of the two Jewish lawyers whose offices were sprayed with graffiti, told Le Parisien newspaper that she was not intimidated by the vandalism, or by the hate mail she had recently received.

Police investigating the threats told Le Parisien it is likely that those targeting the lawyers are themselves members of the Jewish community, angry that Jews would have chosen to defend the anti-Semitic killers.