French po­lice re-open case of stabbed DJ

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY SHIRLI SITBON PARIS

FRENCH AU­THOR­I­TIES have re­opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 2003 mur­der of a 23-year-old disc-jockey.

On the night of Novem­ber 19, as Se­bastien Se­lam was about to drive to the Paris night club where he worked, his neigh­bour Adel Amas­tai­bou stabbed him to death in their build­ing’s park­ing area.

Af­ter his ar­rest later that night, Amas­tai­bou ad­mit­ted to po­lice that he had killed Mr Se­lam, claim­ing that he had heard voices that told him to stab his neigh­bour. Ac­cord­ing to the de­po­si­tion, which the JC has seen, the killer said he was happy that “the dirty Jew was dead”.

Po­lice con­sid­ered that Amas­tai­bou was men­tally un­sta­ble and could not be held re­spon­si­ble for his ac­tions.

“This is not a racial or a re­li­gious hate crime,” Am­broise Colom­bani, Amas­tai­bou’s lawyer, said. “My client is much worst than un­sta­ble, he is very sick. His an­tisemitic in­sults were a part of his deliri­ous state.”

In court, Mr Colom­bani pre­sented psy­chi­atric ex­perts who di­ag­nosed his client as un­sta­ble, and in 2006 the court sent Amas­tai­bou to the Mai­son Blanche psy­chi­atric hospi­tal in Paris.

He has since been trans­ferred from the hospi­tal to an­other in­sti­tu­tion, but his lawyer con­firmed that Amas­tai­bou is still in a closed psy­chi­atric in­sti­tu­tion.

At the time, Jewish lead­ers con­sid­ered that since Amas­tai­bou was di­ag­nosed as in­sane there was no use in mo­bil­is­ing the com­mu­nity to have the mur­der recog­nised as a hate crime.

How­ever, Mr Se­lam’s mother Juli­ette and her lawyer Alex Met­zker do not be­lieve the in­san­ity the­ory.

“Ob­vi­ously, a man who kills so sav­agely is de­ranged, but not ir­re­spon­si­ble f or his ac­tions,” said Mr Met­zker. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Met­zker, Amas­tai­bou was con­victed of an­tisemitic vi­o­lence sev­eral months be­fore the Se­lam killing, af­ter at­tack­ing a rabbi.

“He was con­sid­ered sane at the time,” said the lawyer.

Amas­tai­bou’s lawyer said he was not aware of this prior con­vic­tion.

Mrs Se­lam has man­aged to ob­tain a re-ex­am­i­na­tion of the case over a tech­ni­cal­ity, and re­cently met both Jewish lead­ers and Christophe In­grain, Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy’s ad­viser on jus­tice af­fairs.

“I be­lieve things are chang­ing. I be­lieve the truth can be dis­cov­ered,” Mrs Se­lam said.

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