Six teenagers on trial for alleged role in French teacher’s 2020 beheading

By Euronews with AP |

The murder of French teacher Samuel Paty by a radicalised 18-year-old shocked the country. Now six teenagers go on trial in Paris for their alleged role.

Six teenagers go on trial in Paris on Monday for their alleged role in the beheading of Samuel Paty, a French teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet of Islam to his class.

The killing horrified France and prompted authorities to reaffirm the country’s cherished right to free speech and secularism.

Paty, a history and geography teacher, was killed near his school in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on 16 October by a radicalised 18-year-old refugee of Chechen origin, Abdoullakh Anzorov. The attacker was shot dead by the police.

Paty’s name was spread on social media after a class debate on freedom of expression in which he showed cartoons published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which sparked a massacre at its offices by extremists in January 2015.

The teacher had used the magazine as part of an ethics lesson discussing freedom of speech in France. Blasphemy is legal in the country, and there’s a long history of cartoons mocking religious figures.

Paty was murdered less than a month after the magazine republished the cartoons.

Children unveil a book sculpture as part of a tribute ceremony to French history and geography teacher Samuel Paty.

Children unveil a book sculpture as part of a tribute ceremony to French history and geography teacher Samuel Paty.Christophe Ena/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved

Waiting for Paty

All hearings in a Paris juvenile court are to be held without the media, in accordance with French law on minors.

Among those on trial is a 13-year-old girl accused of making false accusations for claiming that Paty had asked Muslim students to raise their hands and leave the classroom before showing the cartoons.

The truth was that the girl had never been in Paty’s class.

A heated debate erupted on social media over her false accusations. Her father, Brahim Chnina, and Islamist militant Abdelhakim Sefrioui posted videos denouncing the French teacher and naming him.

The teenager later told investigators that she had lied. She admitted she was not in the classroom that day and Paty made no such request.

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