Migrant killer in France avoids murder charge because he was high on cannabis

A top French court has upheld a ruling that a migrant who his killed a 65-year-old Jewish woman in an anti-semitic attack was not guilty of murder because he was high on cannabis at the time of the killing.

The incident originally took place in 2017, when Kobili Traoré from Mali, who was 27 at the time, broke into a neighbouring family’s Paris apartment in a rage. He reportedly proceeded to beat 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman Sarah Halimi while reciting Qu’ran verses, before throwing her out of the window of her third-floor home, where she fell to her death.

It is reported that he repeated “Allahu akbar” and that he had killed “the Shaitan” – the Islamic word for Satan.

Though the killer himself denied an anti-semitic motivation, he reportedly told the court that the presence of Jewish religious symbols and imagery around the home had driven him into a further rage. The victim reportedly had a Mezuzah on the wall – a decorative case containing a piece of parchment inscribed with a verse from the Jewish Torah. According to one psychological report, seeing this “amplified [the killer’s] frantic outburst of hate.”

However, French courts have now ruled that Traoré was not criminally responsible for his actions, as he was high on cannabis at the time of the attack and suffering a “delirious fit”. This ruling has been upheld by one of France’s top courts, the Court of Casation’s Supreme Court of Appeals.

The killer, who dealt drugs himself, told the lower court that he would smoke as many as fifteen spliffs per day.

As a result, he will not be facing a criminal trial.

However, the victim’s family has said that they intend to take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

“It’s a bad message for French Jewish citizens,” said Muriel Ouaknine Melki, the lawyer of the victim’s brother.

“When a country wants to do justice it knows how to do it. We will have to wonder about the lack of will to judge anti-semitic crimes because regrets are obviously not enough”, she said in a tweet about the incident, tagging French President Emmanuel Macron.

However, even Macron has said that this case has sparked a need to change the law going forward.

“Deciding to take narcotics and then “going mad” should not, in my view, remove your criminal responsibility,” Macron told Le Figaro during an interview following the case.

“I would like the Justice Minister to present a change in the law as soon as possible”, he added.

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