6 teenagers in court over beheading of French teacher in 2020
PARIS – Six teenagers go on trial behind closed doors on Nov 27, accused of involvement in the beheading of French history teacher Samuel Paty by a suspected militant in 2020.
The teacher had shown his pupils cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression, angering a number of Muslim parents.
Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
One of the minors is a 15-year-old girl who allegedly told her parents that Mr Paty had shown caricatures of the Prophet in her class.
She will be charged with false accusation after it was established that she was not in the class when it happened.
Mr Paty, 47, was killed outside his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old assailant, born in Russia of Chechen origin. The attacker was shot dead by police soon after the incident.
The five other minors to be prosecuted, aged between 14 and 15 at the time of the attack, will be charged with premeditated criminal conspiracy, or ambush.
They are suspected of having pointed out Mr Paty to the murderer or helped monitor his exit from the school.
All six minors were referred to the children’s court and could face 2½ years in prison.
The hearings, due to last until Dec 8, will be held behind closed doors.
Eight adults are also accused and will appear before a special criminal court.
France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim minority and has suffered a wave of attacks by militants or their sympathisers in past years.
In the wake of Mr Paty’s killing, some teachers acknowledged they censored themselves to avoid confrontation with pupils and parents over religion and free speech. – REUTERS