French Muslim, suspected of murdering elderly Jew, ‘unfit’ to stand trial

A French Muslim suspected of murdering an elderly Jewish woman is considered unfit to stand trial, according to a psychiatric evaluation.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The investigating judge in the trial of the man suspected in the murder of Sarah Halimi in Paris last year informed the parties on Wednesday that a second psychiatric evaluation of Kobili Traore showed that he is not responsible for his actions.

The 28-year-old defendant from Mali, who claimed insanity upon being captured, was sent to a psychiatric hospital after the arrest, where a renowned doctor determined that he was indeed mentally fit to stand trial.

Yet instead of proceeding to trial, the judge asked a new panel of three psychiatrists to examine Traore, although the defense counsel had not requested one.

According to Le Monde, two experts interviewed Traore once in May for two hours, and the third questioned him two weeks later for two-and-a-half hours. They concluded that Traore “suffers from a chronic psychotic disorder, likely of a schizophrenic nature,” and that his ability to discern right from wrong was “impaired,” making him “unfit for criminal sanction.”

He also was diagnosed as having a “pathological anti-social personality…and a propensity for violence” such that he should stay hospitalized for long-term psychiatric care.

As the two evaluations contradicted each other, a third was ordered to decide whether the case would go forward or not.

The head of CRIF, the umbrella organization that represents French Jewry, released a statement expressing outrage at the turn of  events.

“We do not understand the determination and procrastination that consistently seeks to turn this killer into a demented person when he is a murderer whose presumed detention doesn’t even hide his hateful anti-Semitism,” Francis Kalifat wrote.

Traore, a known drug addict with a criminal record, is accused of breaking into the apartment of his 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish neighbor in the early hours of April 4, 2017, beating her to death and then throwing her off her third-floor balcony. Witnesses said they heard him screaming “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and reciting verses from the Koran, but the police did not add the aggravated element of a hate crime for months until forced to do so by public pressure.

The case has generated considerable media discussion over the past year due to the apparent unwillingness of the French authorities to classify crimes related to Islamic terrorism and/or anti-Semitic in nature as such.