Six teenagers have been convicted in France in connection with the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty in 2020. Mr. Paty taught at the Collège Bois-d’Aulne in Paris and facilitated a discussion about free expression in France in the wake of the attack against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015 when Islamists broke into the cartoon’s office and murdered 17 people.
As part of the class, Paty showed cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed – similar to those published by Charlie Hebdo. A then-13-year-old Muslim girl, who had been suspended for truancy, lied to her father and said her suspension was prompted by criticisms of the cartoons, which she said included “a photograph of the Prophet naked.” Her enraged father, Brahim Chnina, took to social media to complain about the teacher and demand he be fired.
Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old from Chechnya, saw the messages and decided to execute Mr. Paty. Anzorov lived in Normandy and traveled 50 miles to Paris to carry out the killing. Five other pupils helped him identify the teacher in exchange for 300 euros (around $320). He found Mr. Paty and cut off his head on a public street, using a meat cleaver.
The 13-year-old girl was convicted of false accusation charges and slanderous comments and given an 18-month suspended sentence. Four of the five teenagers who helped the killer identify his target were found guilty of criminal conspiracy with intent to cause violence and also received suspended sentences. The fifth was given a 6-month jail term.
The adults involved in the case will go on trial next year, including Brahim Chnina, Abdullakh Anzorov, and two of his acquaintances, identified only as Azim E. and Naim B.
France is home to some of Europe’s most prolific and deadly Islam-related incidents, including the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, a terror attack in a Paris nightclub that left 130 dead, and an incident in Nice where a driver drove a truck into crowds and killed 86.