February 23, 2024

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Six teenagers are in court accused of beheading a French teacher

Six teenagers are in court accused of beheading a French teacher

A photo taken on October 16, 2023 shows a memorial plaque for murdered teacher Samuel Paty (portrait) near the Bois d’Olen school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, outside Paris. Bertrand Guay/Pool via Reuters/File photo Obtaining licensing rights

PARIS (Reuters) – Six teenagers are on trial behind closed doors on Monday accused of involvement in the 2020 beheading of French history teacher Samuel Paty by a suspected Islamist in an attack that struck at the heart of the country’s secular values. .

The teacher showed his students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression, which angered 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 Patty showed cartoons of the Prophet in her class. She will be charged with false accusation after it is confirmed that she was not in class when it happened.

Paty, 47, was killed outside his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old attacker, born in Russia and of Chechen origin, who was shot dead by police shortly after the attack.

The other five minors to be tried, who were between 14 and 15 years old at the time of the attack, will be charged with premeditated criminal conspiracy or ambush.

They are suspected of having pointed out the killer Patty or helped monitor his exit from the school.

All six minors have been referred to the Children’s Court and could face two and a half years in prison.

The hearings, scheduled to last until December 8, will be held behind closed doors.

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Eight adults are also accused and will appear before a special criminal court.

France is home to the largest Muslim minority in Europe and has suffered a wave of attacks by Islamist militants or their sympathizers in recent years.

In the wake of Paty’s murder, some teachers admitted they censored themselves to avoid confrontation with pupils and parents over religion and freedom of expression.

(Reporting by Sybille de la Hamide) Editing by Giles Elgood

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