Suspect in 2017 Paris killing of Sarah Halimi deemed unfit for trial

Suspect in 2017 Paris killing of Sarah Halimi deemed unfit for trial

Final ruling yet to be made on the 3rd psychiatric assessment of Kobili Traore, and lawyers for victim’s family may appeal; Jewish community says the slaying was anti-Semitic

Sarah Halimi. (Courtesy of the Confédération des Juifs de France et des amis d'Israël)
Sarah Halimi. (Courtesy of the Confédération des Juifs de France et des amis d'Israël)

Psychiatrists have concluded that the suspect in the 2017 Paris slaying of a Jewish woman is not fit to stand trial due to diminished mental capacity at the time of the killing, French media reported Tuesday.

Kobili Traore is alleged to have beaten his neighbor, 66-year-old Sarah Halimi, to death while calling her a demon and shouting about Allah, before throwing her body from the window of her third-story apartment.

The French Jewish community has long claimed Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, was the victim of an anti-Semitic crime.

According to reports on Tuesday, a third assessment of Traore found he did not suffer from mental illness, but that he could not be held responsible for his actions at the time of Halimi’s murder as he was in a state of “acute delirium.” It has been reported in the past that Traore was under the influence of strong cannabinoid drugs at the time of the incident.

A judge still has to make a ruling on the basis of the report, and lawyers for Halimi’s family may submit an appeal.

Some 1,000 members of France’s Jewish community gathered outside the home of Sarah Halimi in Paris to commemorate her alleged anti-Semitic murder, April 9, 2017. (Screen capture: 0404 Video)

Last January, Traore was determined fit to stand trial following an assessment. But that was overturned after a judge requested a second series of tests, which determined that the Malian immigrant was not able to stand trial. Tuesday’s reports are the result of a third assessment of Traore’s mental capacities.

Months after the killing, prosecutors announced that Halimi’s killing was an anti-Semitic crime. An aggravated element of a hate crime was added to Traore’s indictment following vocal protests by Union of French Jewish Communities (CRIF), which said that the omission of such charges may have part of a “cover up” by French authorities.

A Jewish community leader slammed the evaluation of Traore’s mental capacities.

“This despicable crime remains a classic case of an anti-Semitic killing,” Francis Kalifat, president of CRIF, wrote in a tweet. “Not judging her murderer would be tantamount to killing Sarah Halimi a second time.”

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