The trial began Monday for six teenagers in Paris who were allegedly involved in the beheading of a teacher in 2020 who showed caricatures of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, to his class.
47-year-old Samuel Paty was a history and geography teacher. He was hosting an ethics debate on free speech laws in France when he displayed the images that had been published by Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper.
Ten days later, Paty was targeted and slaughtered near his school by 18-year-old Chechen migrant Abdoullakh Anzorov who had become radicalized, according to Breitbart. Anzorov stabbed Paty and proceeded to decapitate him. He was shot dead by police when they arrived at the scene.
One of the defendants in the case is a teenage girl who is accused of making false allegations. Prior to the attack, the then 13-year-old stated Paty had asked Muslim students to raise their hands and exit the classroom before showing the images to the class. She, along with her father Brahim Chnina, repeated these claims to police and on social media, accusing Paty of “dissemination of pornographic images.”
An investigation revealed she was not in the classroom that day, and that she admitted to lying about the entire incident. It was also revealed that her father had been in contact with Anzorov on WhatsApp prior to the murder.
The five other defendants, 14 and 15 at the time of the attack, are charged with criminal conspiracy with the aim of preparing aggravated violence to be committed. They aided Anzorov in identifying Paty in exchange for a €300 (£260) payment.
One of the defendant’s lawyers, Antoine Ory, stated his client is “tormented by remorse and very much afraid of the confrontation with Mr. Paty’s family” adding the boy “obviously didn’t know about the criminal plan” of Anzorov.
Another defendant said that Anzorov claimed he was only trying to film Paty giving an apology for showing the caricatures.
A second trial will begin next year for eight adults involved in the beheading including Brahim Chnina, who was taken into custody shortly after the incident.
Two other adults, Anzorov’s friends are accused of "complicity in a terrorist murder" which, according to BBC, is the most serious crime in the case.