Suspect Remains Silent About Attack

news 12-Jun-2023 Europe

Following a knife attack in France, the search for a motive continues. The prosecutor stated that there is still no evidence of a terrorist background. The victims of the attack are all out of danger.

The suspect in the knife attack in France that injured six people has been remanded in custody for attempted murder. The 31-year-old man has remained silent both in police custody and before the investigating judge about a possible motive, said prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis in Annecy.

There is still no indication of a terrorist background. All victims are out of danger. The immediate witnesses, the parents, are also victims and are under severe shock, added the prosecutor.

Psychiatric Problems?

According to Bonnet-Mathis, the man underwent psychiatric examination. There were no signs of delusions. However, some hints still suggest the man had psychiatric problems since he acted restlessly and rolled on the floor in custody. Apparently, he refused to go to the investigating judge in the morning, and as seen in TV footage, officers had to carry him to the police car with a medical chair.

The psychiatrists saw the 31-year-old man as capable of undergoing questioning and being remanded in custody. No evidence of alcohol or drugs was found during a medical examination.

Unknown to European Security Authorities

The man is said to have seriously injured several people, including four young children, with a knife on a playground in the Alpine city of Annecy on Thursday. The police were able to apprehend the suspect shortly after the attack.

According to the prosecutor, during the attack, the man spoke of his wife, daughter, and Jesus Christ. The Syrian carried a cross, and two Christian images, cash, and a driver's license were found with him. He also had a folding knife on him.

Shortly after the attack, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne declared, “the arrested Syrian was unknown to European security authorities.” There were also no indications of previous psychiatric treatment.

Asylum Application Rejected in France

While the 31-year-old man remains silent, investigators are now focusing on his background and living conditions. As the prosecutor stated, the man fled from Syria to Sweden in 2013, where he received asylum and later married. He has a three-year-old daughter, and he separated from his wife last year.

He went to Italy and Switzerland in May 2022 and came to France in the fall, where he applied for asylum. His application was rejected because he had already been recognized in Sweden. This was rejected four days before the attack. It is unclear whether this could be related to the attack.

In Annecy, he lived as a homeless person in hallways. The police had checked him on Sunday because he had washed himself in Lake Annecy, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said, according to the newspaper "Le Parisien." However, there was no reason to detain him.

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