Antisemitic Murderer of French Jewish Pensioner Sarah Halimi Transferred to Prison, Raising Expectations of Criminal Trial
The Islamist assailant who murdered Paris Jewish pensioner Sarah Halimi in April has been moved from a psychiatric hospital to a prison near the French capital — suggesting that he is likely to face trial for his crime, a French Jewish newspaper reported on Thursday.
The report published by Actualite Juive said that Kobili Traore — the 27-year-old Malian immigrant who broke into Halimi’s apartment on April 4, beat her brutally while shouting Islamist slogans and then threw her from a third-floor window — had been moved from the hospital to Fresnes prison, south of Paris, on July 11.
Traore’s lawyers have said that their client is suffering from mental illness, which can be regarded as a mitigating circumstance under the French legal system. Halimi’s family and their supporters insist that Traore acted from ideological and religious motives, and that the murder must be tried as a hate crime.
Alex Buchinger, a lawyer for the Halimi family, expressed surprise that Traore had been moved to prison before the publication of his psychiatric assessment — which will be a key determinant of whether he stands trial in a case that has raised disturbing questions about France’s attitude to antisemitic violence. Buchinger said that he expected the assessment would be made available by August 22.
Halimi’s brother, William Attal, welcomed the development as strengthening the family’s demand that Traore bear criminal responsibility for the murder. He noted in particular the fact that Traore was sent to prison just one day after his psychiatric assessment.
In a commentary on French website Dreuz, leading French psychiatrist Thierry Ferjeux Michaud-Nérard scorned the claim that Traore was suffering from a psychiatric illness that directly caused him to kill Halimi.
“It is not enough to make a diagnosis of schizophrenia, it is necessary to show how criminal behavior is its consequence, and not the criminal result of a dominant ideology of a radical Islamic and antisemitic nature,” Michaud-Nérard argued.