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US court rules Swiss student unfit to stand trial

A court in San Francisco has declared a Swiss student unfit to stand trial on charges of killing his landlady. The ruling postpones criminal proceedings indefinitely.

The judge based her decision on a report by a court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated Vadim M., a native of canton Geneva. The report is to remain sealed.

A new hearing has been set for next month.

Vadim's lawyer said the ruling recognised how gravely ill his client was. He said Vadim was "unable to respond in a coherent fashion" to the charges.

The district attorney agreed that the criminal case should remain suspended unless Vadim is subsequently deemed fit to stand trial. If he ever does go on trial, he would face a possible death sentence.

Swiss consular officials have reportedly been working closely with Vadim's lawyer to ensure that his rights as a foreign national are protected.

Vadim was arrested in May after allegedly telling police that he had strangled and dismembered his 47-year-old landlady.

swissinfo with agencies