Charges Filed Against Man In Annecy Knife Attack

The Syrian refugee who stabbed six people, including four very young children, in a park in Annecy, in the French Alps, has been charged with “attempted murder”, the prosecutor announced on Saturday, indicating that the life-threatening prognosis of his victims is no longer engaged.

The motives of the man, who is imprisoned, still remain unknown.

The Annecy prosecutor, Line Bonnet-Mathis, clarified during a press conference that Abdalmasih H “did not wish to speak”, both during his 48-hour police custody and before the two investigating judges in charge of the investigation.

After two psychiatric expert reports, Abdalmasih H.’s condition was deemed “compatible with police custody”. “The psychiatrist noted the absence of frank delusional elements”, she added, before qualifying: “it is however premature to comment on the presence or absence of psychiatric pathologies at this stage”.

Of the six people affected by the attack, four very young children aged 22 to 36 months had to be hospitalized in absolute emergency, at first. An adult was also seriously injured, while another was slightly injured. Their vital prognosis is “no longer engaged”, added Ms. Bonnet-Mathis.

Since his arrest, the 31-year-old assailant has given no explanation and has “obstructed police custody”, in particular by “rolling on the ground”. He is also “totally mute”, sources close to the investigation told Agence France-Presse.

“Madness is too easy an excuse, it is important to know that he is auditioned and that he is not considered simply as someone delusional”, commented on Friday the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. “He probably has a motivation that investigators will try to figure out,” he said.

“The investigations are continuing”, in particular “to establish his personality, his career, what he has done since he has been in France”, specified a source close to the investigation.

As soon as the news of the attack became known on Thursday, leaders of the right-wing and far-right opposition denounced “massive immigration”, spoke for some of “radical Islamism” and “terrorism” before know that the attacker is a Christian, that he acted “without apparent terrorist motive”, according to the prosecution.

“Not getting used to”
The day after the tragedy, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte went to the bedside of the victims, the Head of State speaking of “positive news” about their health.

Among the four injured children, aged 22 to 36 months, a Dutch girl, hospitalized in Geneva, is “out of danger”, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

The presidential couple then went to Annecy, to the hospital and then to the prefecture to greet all those who provided “help and support” during the tragedy that shook the city on Thursday.

“Attacking children is the most barbaric act there is,” denounced the French president. “There are things that are not digestible. The violence behind these acts is unheard of. We don’t have to get used to it.”

The attack, which occurred in public and in broad daylight, deeply traumatized Annecy, a usually peaceful town. Shocked, hundreds of people marched all day Friday past the small playground, the site of the attack, to gather and lay flowers.

Emma Cluzel, a 22-year-old from Annecy, explained that she felt “a lot of sadness, hatred, anger, incomprehension”. “We are not prepared” for such events, said Leo Ganassali, a 21-year-old salesman.

Notre Dame de Paris

This day of tribute ended with a mass for the victims at the Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens cathedral in Annecy.

“When I learned that this man [the assailant] accompanied his gesture, his crime, with the words “in the name of Jesus”, of course, I was and I am still terribly hurt and moved. . Performing such an act of violence in the name of Jesus is a perversion,” Bishop Yves Le Saux said in his homily.

Among those attending the mass was Henri, a young Catholic who became a celebrity in a few hours for having tried to intervene during the knife attack using his backpack.

“I don’t like this term hero at all. I think I acted as all French people could and should have acted. […] There will be no before or no after. I will remain as I am,” he said before mass.

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