Samuel Paty: Six French teenagers on trial over teacher’s murder

A portrait of murdered teacher Samuel Paty at the school where he taught
Image caption,A portrait of murdered teacher Samuel Paty at the school where he taught

Six teenagers have gone on trial in Paris for their alleged roles in the murder of a teacher, Samuel Paty.

The children are accused of slander and pointing out Mr Paty to his killer, a Chechen refugee, at the school.

They were aged between 13 and 15 at the time of the killing in 2020, with the trial happening behind closed doors.

Local media report that the suspects, who face up to 2.5 years in prison, hid their identities as they arrived at the juvenile court on Monday.

Mr Paty was stabbed and beheaded on 16 October 2020 after reportedly showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of expression.

The youngest suspect was 13 years old at the time of the killing. She was suspended from school nine days before Mr Paty’s murder – for reasons unrelated to the case.

She arrived to the court with her head completely hidden in the hood of a black down jacket, according to AFP news agency.

She is alleged to have untruthfully told her father that she had been disciplined for having confronted Mr Paty over an alleged request for Muslim students to leave the class.

She had in fact been absent from the class in question. Nonetheless, her father posted videos on social media calling for Mr Paty to be fired.

Prosecutors believe these videos prompted Chechen Abdoullakh Anzorov to travel around 80km (50 miles) from Normandy to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris, to commit the murder.

Anzorov, 18 years old at the time, was shot dead by police at the scene.

The other five suspects in the case are alleged to have helped Anzorov identify Mr Paty at the school in exchange for a €300 (£260) payment. One said Anzorov told him that he wanted to film Mr Paty apologising for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

A second trial will open next year for eight adults also accused of complicity in the murder. These include Brahim Chnina, the father of the 13-year-old girl on trial.

Prosecutors have accused two friends of Anzorov of “complicity in a terrorist murder”, the most serious crime of the case. One man is accused of accompanying Anzorov to buy weapons, the other of driving him to the school where Mr Paty taught on the day of the murder.

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