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French president under fire for criticizing decision not to hold trial for Jewish woman’s murderer

(JTA) — French President Emmanuel Macron is under fire from top members of the judiciary after criticizing a court decision not to have a trial for a Jewish woman’s killer.

During a visit last week to Israel last week, Macron took issue with the Paris Appeals Court decision in December to relieve Kobili Traore, 29, of criminal responsibility for killing Sarah Halimi because he was high on marijuana.

In a speech to Israel’s French Jewish community, Macron said that “even if, in the end, the judge decided that there was no criminal responsibility, there is a need for a trial.”

In a statement this week, judge Chantal Arens of the Cour de Cassation and prosecutor-general Francois Molins assailed Macron for weighing in, asserting that “the independence of the justice system, of which the president of the Republic is the guarantor, is an essential factor in the functioning of democracy.”

The judges are due to hear an appeal by Halimi’s family, the French news agency APF reported.

Halimi was beaten to death last year by Traore, who shouted about Allah and called her a demon before throwing the 60-year-old physician to her death from the window of her third-story apartment. The appeals court did say that the killing was partly due to anti-Semitism.