Paris mayor's attacker unfit to stand trial

January 13, 2004

Azedine Berkane, following his arrest for stabbing openly gay Paris mayor Betrand Delanoe in 2002. A French judge ruled 12 January 2004 that Berkane was mentally unfit to stand trial and ordered that he be committed to a psychiatric facility. AFP PHOTO
PARIS — A French judge on Monday ruled that the man who stabbed Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe in 2002 was mentally unfit to stand trial and ordered him committed to a psychiatric facility, court sources said.

If he had been found competent to stand trial, Azedine Berkane would have been charged with attempted murder in connection with the October 2002 knifing of Delanoe during an all-night cultural party in the French capital.

The Socialist mayor said last week he would not appeal if the court ruled that his attacker was unable to stand trial, as prosecutors had recommended, saying: "I accept the judge's decision in advance."

During police interrogation following the attack, Berkane said he hated politicians and homosexuals, and felt he was being persecuted by a satanic sect. His lawyer portrayed him as an unbalanced loner prone to depression.

Delanoe, who is one of France's few openly gay politicians, spent a fortnight in hospital recovering from stomach surgery after being stabbed while greeting the public at city hall as part of the festivities. –Sapa-AFP



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