interview with Quentin Chabert, the lawyer for the arsonist at Nantes Cathedral

Quentin Chabert is the lawyer for Emmanuel Abayisenga, who accused himself of the murder of Father Maire in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in Vendée, Monday August 9, 2021. He defends him under his indictment in the affair of the fire at Nantes Cathedral.

Master Chabert why did you file a request for release for Emmanuel Abayisenga?

“A request for release from the lawyer, it is obvious from the moment when someone is suspected of a criminal act, he cannot be remanded in custody according to the provisions of the code of criminal proceedings over too long a period. The mandate normally lasts four months, then the judge of freedom of detention can renew it twice four months, i.e. twelve months maximum.

At the end of these twelve months, an exceptional situation is required for there to be continued detention, which is not the case for my client. Sooner or later he would have been released from detention, there he was released a month and a half before the maximum deadline”.

Does Mr. Emmanuel Abayisenga present a particular psychiatric profile?

“The psychiatric profile is assessed by doctors, by legal professionals, and decisions are taken with respect for law and health. My client was able to benefit from care within the framework of his judicial review and at the end of this month of care the psychiatrists felt that he could get out. There is always a risk taking in these situations”.

Why hasn’t your client been deported back to the border?

“The lawyer does not have to say what his client’s situation is. The public prosecutor has the power under the code of criminal procedure to hold press conferences and give information which is normally covered by the secrecy of the investigation. He himself informed that my client had been able to benefit from administrative measures, that there were ongoing appeals, and a judicial review which meant that he had to stay on the territory “.

Do controversies affect you?

“Those who raise controversy, and I am thinking specifically of Madame Le Pen who is a lawyer, I cannot suspect her of not knowing the rules. She could have led the debate on a proposal to change the law. We are on a idea of ​​being controversial and saying that my client should not have been released.

Judicial control does not allow him to leave the territory. People are required not to leave the territory. If we had done so, she would have been the first to find it scandalous that this person had been sent back to Rwanda, and that we could no longer judge her for the facts of the fire at Nantes Cathedral…”

What will be next?

“The facts which are now alleged against Emmanuel Abayisenga show everyone that there is a psychiatric difficulty. A simple legal question will arise. When we have a situation where we have doubts about the discernment of the person at the time of the act, there is either an alteration that can be pronounced, which means that the person did not have his full discernment, that he has a little discernment but too much, and there, he can be judged. there is just an attenuation of the maximum incurred.

The other possibility is the abolition of discernment, and there that means that there is no discernment, a total absence of discernment and in this case, there is no penal responsibility, we can’t judge her. That doesn’t mean she’s free. The question that will arise at that time is: should we hospitalize him under duress in a psychiatric structure?

What was Emmanuel Abayisenga’s life course?

“The public prosecutor yesterday mentioned my client’s date of birth, so we can deduce that he lived through the dramatic events that took place in Rwanda between April and July 1994. He was 13 at the time of the genocide and all the people who lived through this genocide retain an extremely important trauma.The paths of life can add problems which can lead to an idea of ​​post-traumatic stress, such as the military can encounter it.

This is something that may be the case with my client, it is something that will no doubt be determined later. I have no doubt that the public prosecutor will divest himself of the file to send it to one or more investigating judges, in order to be able to shed light in this context, the medical file will be requested, psychological and psychiatric will be carried out and we will have a clarification of this point”.

Have you met Father Mayor?

“I have a special thought for Father Mayor, I have no information on his death (interview conducted on Tuesday August 10, 2021), but I do not forget this truly exceptional person. I think it’s important to keep thinking about him, and his community as well.”.

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