On Monday, six teenagers have gone on trial behind closed doors relating to Samuel Paty’s beheading in 2020 which became a national scandal. Paty was a French history teacher.
In a lesson on freedom of expression, the instructor had shown his students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which infuriated some Muslim parents. Prophetic images are frowned upon by most Muslims, who view them as heretical.
Before displaying the caricatures, Paty reportedly asked Muslim students to exit the room, according to a 13-year-old girl who at the time allegedly told her parents. After it was determined that she was not in the class when it occurred, she is being charged with making false accusations.
An 18-year-old attacker of Chechen descent killed Paty, 47, outside his school in a suburb of Paris. The attacker was shot and killed by police shortly after the attack.
The five other minors, who were between the ages of 14 and 15, will face charges of intentional criminal conspiracy, or ambush. They may have helped supervise Paty’s departure from the school or identified him to the murderer.
The six minors, who could each spend two and a half years in prison, were referred to the children’s court. Due to their age, they cannot be identified, and on Monday they appeared in court covered up by hoodies.
Prior to the start of the hearing on Monday, one of the accused’s solicitors, Antoine Ory, stated, “He is consumed with regret and is very fearful of the confrontation with Paty’s family.”
Through attorney Louis Cailliez, Paty’s sister Mickaelle made a statement stating that her brother would not have died if there hadn’t been a “fatal association of small cowardices, big lies”. The hearings are scheduled to begin on December 8 and will take place in private. In addition, eight adults are charged and are scheduled to appear in a special criminal court.
Nearly two years to the day Paty was killed, last month, a 20-year-old man attacked a school in northern France, killing a teacher and seriously wounding two more, raising new concerns about jihadist violence.