PARIS — A 22 year-old French man went on trial in the Paris suburb of Creteil on Friday accused of burning a teenage girl to death in a crime that became an emblem of the sufferings of young women in poor French neighborhoods.
Prosecutors say that in October 2002 Jamal Derrar doused 17 year-old Sohane Benziane with gasoline at the foot of a tower-block in Vitry-sur-Seine, southeast of Paris, and set her on fire. She died two hours later in hospital.
Derrar, who says that he only meant to scare the girl, acted to avenge himself after he was humiliated in a fight with her boyfriend, investigators believe.
He is accused of “acts of torture and barbarity that unintentionally led to death” and faces a possible life term in jail.
Tony Rocca, 23, is accused of abetting Derrar by guarding the door of the bin-room where the crime took place, and also risks life in jail.
Sohane’s death provoked national outrage, and a campaigning group – Neither Whores nor Slaves – was set up to draw attention to the mistreatment of women in France’s high-immigration city suburbs.
Brændende kærlighed – til Varanen