“At the same time…”: what the psychiatrists who have appraised Salah Abdeslam say

I blame myself for having, in a previous column, treated Salah Abdeslam as a head slap. One does not insult a disarmed man, first of all. Then I would have done better, before letting my exasperation speak, to wait for the testimony of Dr. Zagury, one of the psychiatrists who examined the defendants and came for three days to talk to us about them. The mission of these psychiatrists is above all to say if they are criminally responsible and the answer is yes, they all are, none is crazy. Most left it at that, with more or less assertiveness and jargon. But Zagury and his colleague Ballivet, who took care of Abdeslam, went further.

Daniel Zagury is a colossus with a big white mustache, immense experience and, in everything he says, a tremor of uncertainty which is exactly what we needed at this point in the trial. The first thing he explains is that their expertise, to Ballivet and to him, is fragile since Abdeslam refused to meet them throughout the six years of instruction. He also refused to speak to the judge, he was in solitary confinement, he was moved from one place to another blindfolded and in April 2017 he went through a delusional episode: auditory hallucinations, fear of being poisoned by supervisors, obsession with glue, sticks on the walls of his cell, sticks on his skin and clothes, sticks everywhere.

It was only in November 2021, when the trial had begun, that he accepted the expertis

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