Six French teens convicted for their roles in the killing of teacher Samuel Paty

Six teenagers in France have been convicted for their roles in the beheading of a teacher by an Islamic extremist three years ago which shocked the country.

Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, was killed on 16 October 2020, near his school in a northwest Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who had become radicalised. The attacker was in turn shot dead by police.

The court found five of the defendants, 14 and 15 at the time of the attack, guilty of staking out the teacher and identifying him for the attacker.

Another defendant, 13 at the time, was accused of lying about the classroom debate in a comment that aggravated online anger against the teacher.

All were handed brief or suspended prison terms. The teenagers testified that they didn’t know the teacher would be killed.

Paty’s name was disclosed on social media after a class debate on free expression during which he showed caricatures published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which triggered a newsroom massacre by extremists in January 2015.

The trial was held behind closed doors, and the media were not allowed to disclose the defendants’ identities according to French law regarding minors.

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