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Corporal arrested for assault on Jewish teen

Latest update : 2008-07-12

Two French men including an Air Force corporal were arrested in connection with an attack on a Jewish 17-year old, now awake from a coma after the brutal beating on June 21.

PARIS - Two French young men were placed under judicial investigation on Thursday for the attempted murder of a Jewish teenager in an attack last month that highlighted communal gang violence in parts of Paris.

 

The 17-year-old was left in a coma after a brutal beating on June 21 that was at first presented as an attack on an isolated Jew before police found he had been involved in a fight between a group of young Jews and youths of African origin.

 

A judicial source said on Thursday that the two men placed under investigation, a step that is short of charges but can lead to trial, also face a formal inquiry for anti-Semitism.

 

A third suspect, a young man from Mali, was placed under investigation over his role in a fight that took place just before the beating of the teenager in an ethnically and religiously mixed area of northeast Paris. He too faces a formal inquiry for anti-Semitism.

 

All three deny the accusations against them.

 

President Nicolas Sarkozy was among prominent French politicians who rushed to condemn the beating as an attack on an isolated boy who was singled out because he was wearing a kippa.

 

But the police investigation over the following days revealed a more complex picture of a neighbourhood where gangs of youths of Arab, African and Jewish origin regularly come to blows.

 

Police found that the victim, who was known to them for his involvement in previous fights, had been involved in a fight between Jewish and black youths and was unable to flee in time.

 

He has now come out of his coma and has told police he has no memory of the attack on him. Police arrested the three suspects after investigations using wiretaps and witnesses.

 

One suspect, a 26-year-old from the neighbourhood, is accused of beating the teenager with a crutch, while the other, who is 25 and lives in one of the troubled suburbs of Paris, is accused of having beaten him with his bare hands.

 

Local councillors in the Paris district where the beating took place said gang violence between young Jews and youths of African and Arab origin had increased since the start of a Palestinian uprising against Israel in 2000.

Date created : 2008-07-12

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