The Fort Worth Press - French girl, 12, laid to rest after 'evil' murder

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French girl, 12, laid to rest after 'evil' murder
French girl, 12, laid to rest after 'evil' murder / Photo: © AFP

French girl, 12, laid to rest after 'evil' murder

A 12-year-old girl whose murder shocked France and also sparked a bitter political controversy was to be laid to rest on Monday, with an Algerian woman already targeted by an expulsion order charged with the killing.

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The murder and brutal assault of the girl known as Lola was branded as "evil" by President Emmanuel Macron after her body was found earlier this month stuffed into in a trunk in Paris.

But it also prompted right-wing and far-right critics to accuse his government of not doing enough to prevent illegal migration, with ministers hitting back that such rebukes were inappropriate at this time.

The family of Lola have urged that squabbles be set aside and the young girl be laid to rest in "respect and dignity" when her funeral takes place later Monday in the town of Lillers, in her home region in northern France.

The funeral mass is open to the public but the family wants the burial in the cemetery to be strictly private. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, a close ally of Macron, is taking part.

"I want that Lola's parents have the possibility to live," said the bishop of Arras Olivier Leborgne who will lead the ceremony. "I hope that people are very sober, discreet and very respectful," he told France 3 TV.

Just 500 people can attend inside the church but, given the expected presence of thousands of people, loudspeakers will be set up to allow them to follow the ceremony outside.

- 'Extreme evil' -

Macron had on Friday spoken of the "atrociousness of the crime" which he described as an act of "extreme evil".

He praised the "dignified" behaviour of her family who he said deserved "first and foremost the respect and affection of the nation."

But the profile of the suspect, a woman named only as Dahbia B., an Algerian who was the subject of an expulsion order, has prompted stinging criticism from the right and one of the most bitter political debates since Macron's re-election in May.

She had overstayed a student visa and had failed to comply with a notice issued in August to leave France within 30 days.

On Monday, the 24-year-old was charged with the rape and murder of a minor aged under 15 along with torture and abuse.

The woman has confessed she had then "committed harm of a sexual nature and other violent acts against (Lola) that caused her death, and hid her body in the trunk," prosecutors said.

According to the autopsy, the young girl died due to "cardio-respiratory failure with signs of asphyxia and cervical compression".

The investigation will now focus on whether the suspect was suffering from a psychiatric disorder at the time of the killing and can face criminal responsiblity for the murder.

- 'Honour the memory' -

Eric Ciotti, MP from the right-wing Republicans (LR) party, denounced a "criminal migratory laxism" while extreme-right figure and candidate in the May polls Eric Zemmour even used the term "francocide" to describe the killing.

The far-right National Rally (RN) observed a minute of silence in parliament with the head of its MPs Marine Le Pen insisting on the need for "answers" from the government.

Her parents, who met with Macron last week, on Friday pleaded with politicians to stop exploiting their daughter's murder, after her photo was displayed at a far-right demonstration in Paris the day before.

In a statement sent to AFP on Friday, they called for an immediate end to "any use of the name and image of their child for political ends" so they could "honour the memory of their child in peace, respect and dignity".

Police also opened an investigation after one of their officers, gave graphic details of the case in an interview with the television station BFMTV. The interview, filmed so as to conceal his identity, was broadcast Friday.

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C.Dean--TFWP