France trainer assault: Seven other folks to wait court docket over Samuel Paty’s loss of life

People attend a memorial march in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionA silent march was held in honour of Samuel Paty on Tuesday in the Paris suburb where he was killed

Seven people will appear before an anti-terrorism judge as part of an investigation into the beheading of a school teacher in France.

Samuel Paty, 47, was attacked after he showed controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils.

The attacker, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, was shot dead by police.

Two minors as well as a parent who reportedly exchanged text messages with the killer are among those who will appear in court on Wednesday.

Mr Paty was subject to an online hate campaign after he showed the cartoons in two lessons about free speech earlier this month.

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The campaign was allegedly launched by a father of one of his pupils. The 48 year old, who has been named in French media only as Brahim C, is accused of issuing a “fatwa” against the teacher.

He is also reported to have exchanged a number of text messages with Mr Paty’s killer prior to the attack, which happened close to the teacher’s school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday.

image copyrightAFP
image captionSamuel Paty, a well-liked teacher, was threatened over showing the cartoons

The two minors who are set to appear in court are suspected of having taken money in exchange for information on Mr Paty.

Sixteen people were arrested as part of the investigation, but nine have since been released.

What else is happening?

A national day of tribute will be held for Mr Paty on Wednesday.

President Emmanuel Macron will attend a memorial ceremony at the Sorbonne University in Paris with the teacher’s family and some 400 guests.

Mr Macron is expected to posthumously give Mr Paty France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, at the event.

Earlier, the president held a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged co-operation in fighting terrorism. Mr Putin described the attack as a “barbarous murder”.

Mr Paty’s killer, Anzorov, was born in Moscow and his family is from Russia’s Muslim-majority Chechnya region in the North Caucasus. He had lived in France since 2008.

Mr Macron said he wanted to see a “strengthening of Franco-Russian co-operation in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration”, the French presidency said.

Russia has played down any association with the attacker. “This crime has no relation to Russia because this person had lived in France for the past 12 years,” a spokesman of the Russian embassy in Paris told the Tass news agency on Saturday.

Mosque closed amid mass raids

Police raided some 40 homes following the attack, and the government also ordered a mosque to close for six months.

The Pantin mosque, just north of Paris, was closed after it emerged it had shared videos on Facebook calling for action against Mr Paty.

In one clip, posted just days before the attack, it also shared his school’s address.

media captionFrench minister: Lessons on freedom of expression will continue

The mosque later expressed “regret” over the videos, which it has deleted, and condemned the teacher’s killing.

Meanwhile, mosques in the south-western cities of Bordeaux and Beziers were put under police protection after they reported threats.

“Such actions are unacceptable on the soil of the Republic,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a tweet on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, President Macron said the Sheikh Yassin Collective – an Islamist group named after the founder of the Palestinian militant group Hamas – would be outlawed for being “directly involved” in the killing.

He said the ban was a way of helping France’s Muslim community from the influence of radicalism.

Why was Samuel Paty targeted?

On Monday, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said Mr Paty had been the target of threats since he showed the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on 6 October.

The history and geography teacher advised Muslim students to leave the room if they thought they might be offended.

Mr Ricard said the killer had gone to the school on Friday afternoon and asked students to point out the teacher. He then followed Mr Paty as he walked home from work and used a knife to attack him.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad can cause serious offence to Muslims because Islamic tradition explicitly forbids images of Muhammad and Allah (God).

The issue is particularly sensitive in France because of the decision by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

A trial is currently under way over the killing of 12 people by Islamist extremists at the magazine’s offices in 2015 following their publication.

media captionRallies in Paris, Toulouse, Lyon and other French cities in support of Samuel Paty

France’s Muslim community, which is Europe’s largest, comprises about 10% of the population.

Some French Muslims say they are frequent targets of racism and discrimination because of their faith – an issue that has long caused tension in the country.

Related Topics

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • France
  • Paris
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Islamist extremism
  • Freedom of expression

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