Three teenagers including a 17-year-old girl are charged over the murder of French history teacher Samuel Paty who was beheaded after showing Mohammed cartoons in a free speech lesson
- Two 18-year-old men, one French the other Chechen, and girl detained Tuesday
- Three teens have been charged with ‘criminal terrorist conspiracy’, source said
- Men are suspected of being in contact with 18-year-old killer Abdullakh Anzorov
- Anzorov beheaded Samuel Paty over cartoons of Mohammed used in a lesson
Three teenagers including a 17-year-old girl have been charged over the murder of French history teacher Samuel Paty, beheaded last month for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class.
Two 18-year-old men and the girl were charged with ‘criminal terrorist conspiracy’, a judicial source said. They were detained on Tuesday.
The men – one French and the other Chechen – are suspected of having been in contact with Mr Paty’s killer, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, and have been placed in pre-trial detention.
The girl was placed in a youth detention centre. She had been in contact with one of the two men.
History and geography teacher Samuel Paty, 47, who has been decapitated outside a school near Paris after receiving death threats for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a lesson
Mr Paty, 47, was decapitated near his school in a Paris suburb by Anzorov, also a Chechen, on October 16.
Anzorov was furious about Mr Paty’s use of cartoons published by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression.
His murder sparked a torrent of outrage that prompted President Emmanuel Macron to crack down on Islamist extremism and violence in a country reeling from a wave of jihadist attacks since 2015 that have killed more than 250 people.
Anzorov was shot and killed by police.
Ten people have now been charged in the case, including a 14-year-old and 15-year-old accused of pointing Mr Paty out to his killer.
The three latest suspects were detained in separate regions of eastern France, a source said, hundreds of kilometres from the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where Mr Paty was killed, and far from the Normandy city of Evreux where Anzorov lived.
Also charged in the case is a known Islamist radical who helped an outraged father of one of Mr Paty’s students stir up a campaign against him on social media.
French President Emmanuel Macron leaves after paying his respects by the coffin of slain teacher Samuel Paty in the courtyard of the Sorbonne university during a national memorial event, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 in Paris
The father has also been charged, as have three others accused of helping Mr Paty carry out the killing.
Being charged in France does not necessarily mean a suspect will end up on trial, as a case can still be dropped for lack of evidence.
Also Friday, prosecutors in the northern city of Cambrai said three teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 were charged with ‘supporting terrorism’ for threats made during a national tribute to Mr Paty on Monday.
Similar incidents were reported in several French cities where youngsters suggested Mr Paty had got what he deserved for showing the cartoons, viewed as offensive by many Muslims.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told RTL radio Friday that about 400 such incidents had been reported during a minute of silence observed for Mr Paty at schools countrywide, ‘some expressed mildly, others more forcefully’.
Flowers outside the middle-school where murdered school teacher Samuel Paty taught on October 18, 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France
Legal action is likely in about a dozen more serious cases, Blanquer said.
Macron’s vociferous defence of French freedom of speech in response to Mr Paty’s murder has sparked furious protests in several Muslim-majority countries.
Charlie Hebdo republished the caricatures in September to mark the start of a trial for 14 suspects accused of complicity in the massacre of 12 people, including cartoonists, at the paper’s Paris offices by two jihadist gunmen in January 2015.
An Algerian man was convicted this week by a court in Pontoise northwest of Paris to six months in prison for ‘glorifying’ Mr Paty’s murder on social media and describing the killer as a ‘martyr’, judicial sources said Friday.
He was also banned from France for 10 years, which means he will be sent back to Algeria after serving his sentence.
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