Teitel: I feel good, but don't know if I'm sane
As first published in Ynet, professional opinion filed in court that alleged Jewish terrorist is not fit to stand trial. Hearing postponed so prosecution can review material. Teitel tells Ynet, 'I don't know if I'm sane. I don't recognize court's jurisdiction'
After escaping the law for 12 years, the Jewish terrorist is also escaping a court date in the meantime. A professional psychiatric opinion was submitted Wednesday to Jerusalem District Court ruling that Jack Teitel is no fit to stand trial. Details of the review were first published by Ynet.
The judges agreed with the State Prosecution's request to delay the hearing so that they could study the material.
Teitel, accused of a string of terrorist attacks against Arab and Jewish civilians, told Ynet, "I don't know if I'm sane. I don't recognize the jurisdiction of this court. I feel good."
Teitel brought into court Wednesday (Photo: Ohad Zoigenberg)
Judges Zvi Segal, Moshe Drori, and Moshe Hacohen postponed the hearing on the psychiatric evaluation performed in Sha'ar Menashe Hospital, which has been accredited by the district psychiatrist. They also ruled that the district psychiatrist must confirm the professional opinion submitted by the hospital.
During the hearing, Teitel's legal counsel, Attorney Asher Ohayon from the Public Defender's Office, said that he intends to send a psychiatrist of their own to the hospital to write a professional opinion for the defense.
In court, Judge Segal asked the State Prosecution whether there was any indication of any additional illness or previous hospitalization in Teitel's past. Representative of the State Prosecution, Sagi Ofir, said that the matter was raised during investigations, but that this apparently the first time Teitel has been to a psychiatrist.
Judge: It is written Teitel is not supposed to be here
Attorney Ohayon asked that the doctors who wrote the opinion be summoned to the next hearing. This request was denied, however. Judge Segal explained, "We are discussing one question today, and that is whether the defendant is fit to stand trial or not. We are not currently discussing whether he can be held responsible for his actions. As of now, according to what is written in the professional opinion, Teitel is not supposed to be here."
Teitel's mother and relatives of his alleged victims – Samir Akram Balbisi and Amiel Ortiz – were present during the hearing. Amiel's father, David Ortiz, said, "Teitel is a very intelligent guy who carried out his crimes intelligently. It is a test for the judges and the State of Israel not to allow this murderer to get away."
The families' representative, Attorney Yossi Greiber said that he was encouraged by the postponement granted in order to study the psychiatric evaluation. "We are stunned by this blatant attempt by one of the most sophisticated criminals to operate in Israel in the past decade who was of sound enough mind to plan the terrorist attacks."
Greiber reiterated claims that Teitel conned the psychiatrist or that his mental state is a result of personal circumstances unrelated to the trial.
12 years of terror
The opinion is based on a month-long psychiatric observation of Teitel performed in Shaar Menashe Hospital in Jerualem. The psychiatrist in charge of the case ruled that Teitel is in a psychotic state. Another opinion will be provided.
In the meantime, Teitel will apparently continue to undergo in-patient hospital treatment. Periodically, a committee will deem whether his status has changed and whether he is fit to stand trial or not.
It should be noted that the psychiatric evaluation refers only to Teitel's current psychiatric condition and whether he is currently fit for trial. It does not address his mental state when he allegedly committed the crimes being ascribed to him. It is likely that should his mental state change, his trial will continue.
Last November, an indictment was filed against Teitel on fourteen counts of terrorism over the court of 12 years. In 1997, he allegedly murdered taxi driver, Samir Akram Balbisi in Jerusalem and shepherd Issa Jabrin near Sussia.
After returning to the US, his country of origin, he returned to Israel and tried to harm police officers and Palestinians. He later planted a bomb at the home of Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell, who luckily was only lightly wounded in the incident. Teitel is also suspected of sending a booby-trapped Purim gift basket to a Messianic Jewish family living in Ariel that seriously wounded teenager Amiel Ortiz.