‘Failure’ in psychiatric care of Paris attacker: minister

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (3rdL), French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti (2ndL) and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (3rdR) meet at the Matignon Hotel, a day after one person was killed and two others wounded in a knife attack, in Paris, on December 3, 2023. French prosecutors have opened an investigation into a “terrorist plot” after a man known to the authorities as a radical Islamist with mental health troubles stabbed a tourist to death and wounded two other people in central Paris at the weekend before being arrested. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

There was a clear failure in the psychiatric care of the radicalised Islamist suffering from mental troubles who stabbed a German tourist to death in central Paris at the weekend, France’s interior minister said Monday.

“There was clearly a failure, not from the point of view of his monitoring by the intelligence services, but a psychiatric failure,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told BFM TV, adding the attacker had an “acute mental illness”.

“Doctors said on several occasions that he was doing better, was more normal and could be free.”

Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, a French national of Iranian origin born in 1997, killed a 23-year-old German-Filipino man with two blows from a hammer and four from a knife on Saturday evening close to the Eiffel Tower.

The investigation is being handled by France anti-terror prosecutors who have launched a probe into a suspected “terrorist” plot.

France’s top anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said Sunday the man’s mother had reported concerns about him as recently as October, but there was insufficient proof at the time to take legal action.

He had already been arrested in 2016 for planning an attack, eventually serving four years in prison and under close watch following his release.

Darmanin said that the attacker’s mother had warned police that her son was no longer taking his medication and intelligence services had offered that he should be hospitalised. But she did not want that and then reported he was doing better.

He said regional authorities currently did not have the power to issue an administrative order for such an individual to undergo psychiatric treatment and “this has to change”.

Rajabpour-Miyandoab had been radicalised through contacts on the Internet rather than meeting people at a mosque, he emphasised, adding the attacker had also been in touch with perpetrators of similar past attacks.

“Terrorism is changing and exploiting the weaknesses of our system,” said Darmanin.