Liberation tonight carries a story that a French minister and the investigating magistrate in charge of the case are ready to admit that anti-semitism could have been part of the reason for the kidnapping and vicious torture and murder of the young Parisian Jew Ilan Halimi.
The investigating magistrate, Corinne Goetzmann is now conducting her enquiry on the basis that the evidence so far points to "premeditated kidnap, incarceration, criminal conspiracy, and murder, on the basis of the victim's membership of a particular religious group" [my translation]
Her recommendation will be considered at a hearing tonight to remand the seven suspects currently in custody.
It's in stark contrast to the Paris prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin who previously denied that anti-semitism was a factor.
Pascale Clement, the Justice Minister involved with the case, said at the annual dinner held by CRIF, the French Jewish communal organization, that one of the arrested suspects had admitted that Ilan Halimi had been attacked because he was a Jew, on the basis that Jews are rich.
Nicholas Sarkozy, the current favourite to succeed Chirac as President apparently condemned the murder as "an act of unimaginable barbarity."
But we're a long way from being close to a likelihood of a conviction for a racist murder. Because, according to my reading of the Liberation report, the presence of an element of racism in the case would not be enough to secure a conviction on that basis.
It seems that only applies where the whole crime from beginning to end has a racist motive.
And Liberation suggests that the racist motive identified by the examining magistrate could be ruled out further on if there isn't conclusive enough evidence.
Funny, none of these comments mentioned the possibly Islamist and unrelated-to-crime matter of the criminals citing Koranic verses in the course of their phone conversations with the Halimi family.
Still, it's progress....