at trial, an expert evokes schizophrenia

published on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 5:20 p.m.

The young woman, accused of having tried to slaughter two women in a department store in 2020 in Switzerland by chanting her devotion to the Islamic State, expressed no remorse on Monday at the opening of her trial, an expert evoking a kind of schizophrenia.

“If I could go back, I would do it better … with accomplices,” said the young woman, 29, before the federal criminal court in Bellinzona (south).

She explained her discovery of jihadism and the Islamic State on social networks, and having wanted to “do something for the Islamic State” for a very long time and show that she was also “capable of carrying out a terrorist act”.

On November 24, 2020, the young woman, of a Swiss father and a Serbian mother, had tried to cut the throat of two women in a department store in Lugano, an Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, after buying a knife on the spot. One of the two victims, who is attending the trial, had been seriously injured in the neck. The second, injured in the hand, had managed to control the assailant with other people.

Dressed in black, as stipulated by the court rules, she wore a long tunic, tights and ballerina shoes, as well as, at the start of the hearing, a sanitary mask (also black) and a hood covering her head and that she agreed to take off, while stressing that she should in principle wear it because she is “Muslim”.

According to the indictment of the Public Ministry of the Confederation (MPC, Attorney General), the young woman, whose name the court does not want to be published, acted “intentionally” and “without any scruples”.

During the attack, she repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “I will avenge the Prophet Muhammad”, and declared “I am here for IS”, in reference to the jihadist group Islamic State.

According to a psychiatrist summoned Monday by the court, Dr. Carlo Calanchini, the young woman suffers from “slight mental retardation” and disorders similar to schizophrenia, with in particular a lack of empathy, concluding with a degree of “imputability medium”.

– Little knowledge of jihadism –

This expert strongly doubts that she will ever develop a “better capacity for judgment” and estimated that she actually knows very little about jihadism, and much less than anyone reading the newspaper.

Earlier, the young woman, with long black hair, recounted her epileptic seizures during childhood followed by an adolescence marked by anorexia, and hairdressing or sales internships.

She has not been to high school, nor finished college, and has been followed since childhood by psychologists and psychiatrists.

She explained that she became pregnant at 17 from her future husband, of Afghan origin, whom she married at 19 and from whom she ended up divorcing last year. Her husband didn’t want her to study or have an abortion. Not wishing to take care of the child, she entrusted him to his parents, who adopted him.

Tried for “repeated assassination attempts” and violation of the article of the federal law prohibiting the jihadist groups Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, she is in particular accused of having wanted to commit a “terrorist act” in the name of the IS. She is also accused of practicing prostitution without declaring it between 2017 and 2020.

The defense intends to rely on his mental state to refute the “terrorist” motive and plead attempted homicide.

She was already known to the police for having tried to join a jihadist fighter in Syria, with whom she fell in love on the networks in 2017. She had been arrested at the Turkish-Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland and then placed in a psychiatric institution. .

The indictment and the pleadings are expected on Thursday, and the judgment on September 19.

Switzerland has never experienced a large-scale jihadist attack but two knife attacks in 2020: a few weeks before Lugano, a young Turkish-Swiss national, who had sought to travel to Syria in 2019, fatally stabbed a passerby in a street in Morges (west).

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