Court refuses to try killer

Judge ruled that Sarah Halimi’s attacker was in a psychotic state due to his use of cannabis


Sarah Halimi’s killer will not stand trial after France’s highest court confirmed this week that he could not be deemed criminally responsible, sparking anger among Jewish groups.
Ms Halimi died in 2017 after being pushed from her Parisian apartment window by her neighbour Kobili Traoré, who has remained in psychiatric care since the attack. 
Traoré had shouted  ‘Allahu Akbar’ before the attack, prompting many Jewish groups to argue that the kind of antisemitism found among radicalised Muslims was a motivating factor.
Francis Kalifat, president of Crif, France’s Jewish umbrella group, warned that “from now on, we can in our country torture and kill Jews with impunity.”
Mr Kalifat later added that France had been denied a “necessary trial against antisemitism”, while the victim’s family had been deprived of an “indispensable trial in their grief”.
A lower court found in 2019 that Traoré had fallen prey to a “delirious fit” during the attack due to his consumption of cannabis. 
The cour de cassation upheld the decision this week, ruling that any perpetrator who acted under the influence of a delirious fit could not stand trial even in cases where their mental state was caused by regular narcotic use.
The top court said that French law “does not offer a distinction as to the origin of a mental disorder.”
Lawyer Muriel Ouaknine-Melki, who represents the victim’s brother, said the decision was “a denial of justice” and expressed her “deep sadness” at the judges’ “failure and refusal to bring out the truth” in the case. 
Communal leaders also reacted with shock and anger, with French chief rabbi  Haïm Korsia  saying that he was “scandalised” by the decision.
Traoré’s lawyer Patrice Spinosi told French media: “We can obviously understand the frustration of the victims in the absence of a trial, but, as it stands, our law refuses the judgment of the acts of those whose consent has been abolished.”

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