Six French teenagers, aged between 13 and 15 at the time, are set to go on trial for their alleged complicity in the murder of teacher Samuel Paty in 2020. The suspects face charges of slander and pointing out the teacher to the killer, a Chechen refugee. Samuel Paty was stabbed and beheaded on 16 October 2020 after reportedly showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of expression.
The youngest suspect, aged 13 at the time, had been suspended from school nine days before the murder for reasons unrelated to the case. She allegedly falsely claimed to her father that she had confronted Mr Paty over an alleged request for Muslim students to leave the class, leading her father to post videos on social media calling for the teacher’s dismissal.
Prosecutors believe these videos influenced the 18-year-old Chechen, Abdoullakh Anzorov, to travel around 80km to commit the murder. The other five suspects are accused of helping Anzorov identify Mr Paty in exchange for a €300 payment. One of them stated that Anzorov wanted to film Mr Paty apologizing for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
A second trial, scheduled for next year, will involve eight adults accused of complicity in the murder, including the father of the 13-year-old girl on trial. Prosecutors have charged two friends of Anzorov with “complicity in a terrorist murder,” alleging involvement in obtaining weapons and facilitating the attack.