Neighbor who tossed an elderly Jewish woman off a balcony while yelling 'Allahu Akbar' avoids trial because he smoked weed

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sarah halimi france march
A march in memory of Sarah Halimi in April 2017 in Paris, France. Fred VIELCANET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
  • Kobili Traoré killed an Orthodox Jewish woman in 2018 by throwing her off her balcony in Paris.

  • France's top court has ruled that he will not go on trial because he was in a drug-induced psychosis.

  • Cannabis was found in Traoré's blood after he was taken into custody for the killing.

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France's top court ruled on Wednesday that the killer of an elderly Jewish woman will not go on trial, France24 reported.

Kobili Traoré admitted to murdering his neighbor, Sarah Halimi, in 2017. He shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" in Arabic, and "I killed the devil," shortly before throwing her off the balcony of her third-floor Paris apartment, The New York Times said.

On Wednesday, the Court of Cassation - France's final court of appeal - affirmed two prior judgments that ruled that Traoré could not be held criminally responsible for his actions because he was in a state of drug-induced psychosis.

Traoré, a drug dealer, smoked pot every day for 13 years and had up to 15 joints a day, Israel Hayom reported. Toxicological analysis revealed the presence of cannabis in his blood on the day he was arrested, the French newspaper Libération said.

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The court noted that "a person is not criminally responsible if suffering, at the time of the event, from psychic or neuropsychic disturbance that has eliminated all discernment or control," The Times said. 

Whether the disturbance was brought on through voluntary drug use is not a legally important distinction, the court said.

In December 2019, President Emmanuel Macron made a rare intervention by criticizing the Paris appeals court for saying that Traore was unfit for trial.

"Even if, in the end, the judge decided that there was no criminal responsibility, there is a need for a trial," Macron said in 2020.

The country's top magistrates then criticized Macron for impacting the "independence of the justice system," The Times of Israel reported.

The ruling has angered French politicians and France's Jewish community, the largest in Europe.

Dozens of French senators have reacted by proposing a revision to the law that exonerates a crime due to a drug-induced psychosis, The New York Times said.

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