Six teenagers will undergo a closed-door trial on Monday for their alleged roles in the beheading of French history teacher Samuel Paty by a suspected Islamist.
In a lesson on freedom of expression, the teacher had shown his pupils cartoons of Prophet Mohammad , angering a number of Muslim parents since any depiction of the Prophet is regarded as blasphemous.
Samuel Paty was killed on Oct. 16, 2020, near his school in a northwest Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who had become radicalized. The attacker was in turn shot dead by police.
The remaining five minors, who were 14 to 15 years old at the time of the attack, will face charges of premeditated criminal conspiracy.
They are suspected of either identifying Paty to the murderer or assisting in monitoring his exit from the school.
All six teenagers have been referred to the children’s court and may potentially receive a 2.5-year prison sentence.The hearings are scheduled to conclude on December 8.
Additionally, eight adults are also facing accusations and are scheduled to appear before a special criminal court.
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France, hosting Europe’s largest Muslim minority, has witnessed a series of attacks by Islamist militants or their sympathizers in recent years.
In the aftermath of Paty’s tragic death, some educators acknowledged practicing self-censorship to steer clear of potential conflicts with students and parents regarding matters of religion and freedom of speech.