A man who admitted murdering his Jewish neighbour and throwing her off a balcony whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar” will not stand trial after a French court ruled he could not be held responsible because he was in a psychotic state from smoking cannabis.
Kobili Traoré, 29, admitted breaking into the home of Jewish kindergarten teacher Sarah Halimi, 64, and killing her in April 2017, but will walk free within weeks. This is despite the court ruling that Traore “does appear to have voluntarily ended the life of Sarah Halimi,” and saying the killing was partly because of anti-Semitism.
Reports say Traore, who is a Malian immigrant, repeatedly punched Halimi for an hour as police stood outside her door, whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar” and reciting Koranic verses. He then threw her off of her third-floor balcony and shouted “I have killed the sheitan” — Satan in Arabic.
Traore had called Halimi’s daughter “dirty Jewess” two years before killing the mother, the daughter has said.
Experts assessing his psychiatric condition agreed he had suffered a psychotic episode but were divided over whether he was still responsible for his actions.
Lawyers representing Ms Halimi’s family said it was a “scandalous decision” and confirmed they were preparing to appeal to France’s Supreme Court.
“I am angered and ashamed of our justice system,” said Francis Szpiner, a lawyer representing Ms Halimi’s children.
“It’s a scandalous decision. They have just created a Sarah Halimi jurisprudence. Starting today, anyone who has taken illegal substances will be able to walk free, exonerated from any criminal responsibility.
“Tonight Mr Traoré is a free man as far as justice goes. He’s mentally sane and will soon be released from hospital”
Mr Szpiner added: “Sarah Halimi’s family will try to take the case to the Supreme Court but it may not be able to do so.”
Muriel Ouaknine Melki, a lawyer representing Ms Halimi’s brother, said she was “extremely worried about the implications of this decision. I’m worried about the future of Jews living in France.”
The French Jewish community has long claimed Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, was the victim of an anti-Semitic crime.
The appeals court’s decision “marks the advent of a policy that gives impunity to anti-Semitic murder in France, EUJF, the French-Jewish student association, wrote Thursday on Twitter.
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 he was not able to stand trial.
A third assessment found Traore 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.”
Prosecutors initially announced after Halimi’s killing that it was an anti-Semitic crime.
Sources: Times of Israel / Jewish Chronicle