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Legal proceedings begin for 6 teenagers accused in beheading French teacher Samuel Paty in 2020

Furthermore, eight adults are slated to stand trial later, including the father of the girl accused of false allegations. He had previously posted videos on social media calling for action against the teacher. An Islamic activist, charged with disseminating extremist messages targeting Paty, is also among those to be tried.

Legal proceedings begin for 6 teenagers accused in beheading French teacher Samuel Paty in 2020 AJR
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First Published Nov 27, 2023, 3:20 PM IST

Six teenagers are facing trial in Paris for their alleged roles in the tragic beheading of Samuel Paty, a teacher who was killed near his school in a northwest Paris suburb on October 16, 2020. Paty, a history and geography teacher, became a victim after showing caricatures of the Prophet of Islam during a class discussion on freedom of expression.

The assailant, an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who had been radicalized, was subsequently shot dead by the police. The incident shook French society, reinforcing the nation's commitment to freedom of expression and secular values.

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Among those on trial is a teenage girl, who at the time was 13, accused of making false allegations by wrongly claiming that Paty had asked Muslim students to leave the classroom before showing the cartoons. This misrepresentation was later confessed as a lie. Additionally, five other students from Paty's school, aged 14 and 15 then, face charges of conspiracy with intentions to commit aggravated violence.

Their alleged involvement includes waiting for Paty outside the school, identifying him to the assailant, and doing so in exchange for monetary promises. The investigation revealed that while the attacker knew Paty's name and school, he lacked the means to personally identify him.

These six teenagers are facing potential sentences of 2 1/2 years in prison. The trial, to be conducted without media presence as per French law concerning minors, is set to conclude on December 8.

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Furthermore, eight adults are slated to stand trial later, including the father of the girl accused of false allegations. He had previously posted videos on social media calling for action against the teacher. An Islamic activist, charged with disseminating extremist messages targeting Paty, is also among those to be tried.

The trial comes in the wake of heightened tensions globally, including the Israel-Hamas conflict, prompting French authorities to deploy an additional 7,000 soldiers nationwide to bolster security. This incident follows a recent school attack where a former student, suspected of Islamic radicalization, fatally stabbed a teacher and injured three others.

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