Frenchman Punished for Burning Woman Alive
A French court sentenced a young man to 25 years in prison Saturday for burning a woman alive, a case that drew nationwide attention to violence against women in tough suburban housing projects.
After six hours of deliberation starting late Friday night, the judges announced their verdict early Saturday, finding Jamal Derrar, 22, guilty of acts of torture or barbarity that led to unintentional death.
On Oct. 4, 2002, Derrar poured gasoline over Sohane Benziane, 17, and then approached her with a cigarette lighter, setting her on fire. She died later at a hospital with burns over 80 percent of her body.
The crime in a housing project in Vitry-sur-Seine southeast of Paris exposed the problem of violence against women in impoverished French suburbs. Vitry-sur-Seine was the starting point of a protest march four months later for women's equality.
Derrar's accomplice, Tony Rocca, was sentenced to eight years in prison for barring the door of the garbage closet where Derrar left the victim while she screamed for help. Rocca denied the charge.
The two young men sat silently, their heads down, during the sentencing. Their supporters wept outside, calling the sentences too heavy.
The family of the victim left the courtroom immediately without speaking to reporters. The family's lawyer, Francis Szpiner, said Derrar should have been charged with murder. He noted that Derrar bought the bottle of gasoline a day before the attack and that rumors had flown around the neighborhood that "he was going to torch Sohane."
The court, however, ruled that the act was not premeditated.
Derrar testified that the fire was an accident. He said that Sohane was his girlfriend _ which her family and friends denied _ and that he had wanted to scare her after an argument.
A leading anti-racism group, MRAP, on Saturday applauded the community members who mobilized to make an example of the case to draw attention to violence and sexism in poor suburbs. Such housing projects were also at the center of riots last fall among disenfranchised youth, many from immigrant backgrounds.
Frenchman? Whatever happened to the stereotypical "lover, not a fighter" frechman? Oh wait,
they allowed "others" to come in who have different "values".
Michael Savage voice [viiiiiolence, sexxxxism, disenfraaaaaanchised, youuuths, iiiiiimmmmigrants, PEEEEACEFUL] Michael savage voice