A Yemeni judge on Monday ordered a man accused of murdering a Jewish teacher to go for a medical checkup to determine if he was competent to stand trial.
At the opening of the trial, lawyers for defendant Abdel Aziz Yehia Hamoud al-Abdi appealed to the judge that he was mentally unfit to stand trial and asked for a medical examination.
"Every one who knows him, knows he is insane," lawyer Khaled al-Shalali told the court, describing the defendant as a retired pilot in the Yemeni army.
Judge Abdel Bari Oqba adjourned the trial until a medical report about al-Abdi's mental health could be completed.
Al-Abdi was charged with killing Moshe Yaish Nahari, a teacher at the yeshiva in Raydah village Dec. 11.
Nahari was one of the roughly 400 remaining Jews still living in Yemen, mostly in Raydah, a small town north of the capital San'a.
At the start of the trial, Nahari's father urged the court to sentence him according to "the law of God."
"We depend on God only," his mother later told reporters.
Government officials have described the killer as a Muslim extremist.
A Yemeni rabbi said last week that Muslim extremists in this impoverished nation in the Arab peninsula are still harassing his small community.
Rabbi Yahia Yaish bin Yahia said Yemeni authorities have ignored complaints from the Jewish villagers about a new set of death threats from their neighbors.
Yemen was once home to about 50,000 Jews in the early 1950s, but most emigrated to Israel.