French soccer international Karim Benzema takes legal action against tweets accusing him of being close to Islamists

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  1. Freiburg: “This is the trial of horror, barbarism and madness A schizophrenic was on trial Thursday for attempted murder. Armed with a broken bottle, he attacked a woman on a train and the hero who interfered. Xavier Fernandez  

    The police had stopped the train in Chénens station.


    On August 4, 2020, the lives of three people were forever changed. A little after 10 am, a 26-year-old Beninese man who had been sleeping for three days at the Romont (FR) station saw a woman getting on the train and decided to follow her. On board, he cornered her and tried to touch her crotch. The 27 year old woman managed to push him away, while screaming. She then sat down further away and a 20-year-old man came over to assist her.

    “I had never seen such violence. I even saw a piece of flesh on the ground about two inches in diameter.”

    A witness heard by the police

    As the latter called the police, the Beninese man came back to the charge, armed with a shard of bottle. This is where the “butchery” began, a term used by the prosecutor, during the trial held Thursday in Granges-Paccot. With this sharp object, he struck numerous blows to one as to the other. The train finally made an emergency stop at the station of Chénens (FR) and the forces of order arrived in number. When they arrived, the young woman was struggling between life and death. Finally, she escaped with massive scars all over her body and some 200 stitches. […]

    The victims remain traumatized

    Both remain traumatized today. “I am still anxious and on alert. Every morning when I see my body, I think about everything that happened. I feel like a monster. I don’t dare to wear a skirt, shorts or T-shirt anymore. There are no words to describe what I feel”, she explained in tears. The young man, him, is from now on unable to go up in a public transport.

    The defendant, who was charged with attempted murder and grievous bodily harm, does not explain his actions, except by his illness. He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and was in the middle of a crisis at the time of the events. Now under treatment, he had difficulty understanding the questions which were put to him on Thursday and struggled to formulate sentences. Built like a colossus, with a shaved head, he nevertheless surprised when he burst into tears and asked forgiveness to his victims.

    Not convinced that he wanted to kill

    If the facts are admitted, the question of responsibility remained. For the public prosecutor, who began his indictment with “This is the trial of horror, barbarism and madness”, the accused was not totally disconnected from reality. The prosecutor therefore asked for a prison sentence of eight years, coupled with a therapeutic measure in an institution. The defense, on the other hand, pleaded for acquittal, considering that his client was not aware of what was happening.

    At the end of the afternoon, the judges gave their verdict. Not being able to be convinced that the defendant had the intention to kill, they did not retain the attempted murder. However, they did find him guilty of grievous bodily harm and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment, together with deportation from Switzerland for a period of 15 years. However, “the real sanction is the therapeutic measure in a closed environment, since he will remain locked up until the day when specialists decide that he no longer represents a threat to society. This can last for years, even decades”, commented the president of the court. And the defense lawyer lamented: “For a prisoner, this is the worst punishment. Even if you are sentenced to life, you can know when you will be free again and plan ahead. There, it is impossible.”

    He was the only one to move

    Besides the young man, dozens of passengers were in the same car. If a woman did yell at the accused to stop, no one but him physically intervened. For his courage, he received a decoration from the police force, in the presence of a state councilor, a few months after the events. And his behavior was described as heroic on several occasions during the trial, starting with the president of the Tribunal: “He is a true hero of the kind we see less and less. But this hero status, he paid a very high price.”


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