An elderly Jewish man was found dead after falling from the 17th floor of his apartment building on May 17. Police suspect that his neighbor may be connected to his death, and prosecutors broadened the scope of the investigation.
On May 17, Rene Hadjaj (89), an elderly Jewish man, was found dead after falling from the 17th floor of his apartment building in Lyon.
Prosecutors in France said they are considering antisemitism as a possible factor in Hadjaj’s death, though initially, the police said the cause of death was unconnected to his religion.
Police arrested the 51-year-one neighbor, Rachid Kheniche, in connection with the incident. Kheniche and Hadjaj had a dispute, which ended with Hadjaj’s death.
According to Nicolas Jacquet, Lyon regional prosecutor, “[The prosecutors] have decided to broaden the scope of the examining magistrates to the aggravating circumstances of a crime committed due to an ethnic, national, racial or religious affiliation.”
After seeing the social media post by Kheniche, in which the neighbor makes multiple derogatory references to Zionism, the police introduced antisemitism as a possible motive.
“Elements that were collected on social networks became known to the prosecutors, who have decided to broaden the scope of the examining magistrates to the aggravating circumstances of a crime committed due to an ethnic, national, racial or religious affiliation,” Nicolas Jacquet told the AFP news agency on Friday.
The Le Point newspaper reported that Kheniche’s neighbors described him as “crazy.” His social media posts, made across dozens of accounts with very few followers, are disjointed and unclear.