The middle school teacher Samuel Paty (47) was beheaded and killed yesterday afternoon in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine outside the French capital Paris.
This is confirmed by French police to Reuters.
French authorities describe the killing as “Islamist terror”.
The teacher is said to have shown cartoons of Muhammad in connection with his teaching of freedom of expression earlier in October, and is said to have received threats after this, according to Le Parisien.
When police arrived at the scene and discovered the gruesome murder, the suspected perpetrator was still at the scene. He was armed with a knife, as well as an airsoft pistol, and is said to have behaved threateningly towards the police.
He was then shot on the spot, and later died of his injuries.
– Born in Moscow
Several French media outlets are now reporting that the suspected perpetrator is an 18-year-old Chechen born in Moscow in 2002, including Le Figaro, who refers to police officers.
French authorities have the benefit of disclosing the identity of the deceased perpetrator. The Russian embassy in Paris has also not confirmed that the perpetrator is a Chechen-Russian citizen, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
However, the embassy reports that they have asked the French authorities for more information, and that they will assist, if necessary.
Timeline: The days before
Already the same evening as the beheading took place, it apparently became clear to the French authorities that the murder was terror, and that the reason must have been the French schoolteacher’s teaching plan.
On the basis of this, the French TV channel BFMTV has collected information about what happened in the days before the terror.
The timeline starts with the day the French teacher showed the Muhammad caricature:
- October 5: The teacher teaches freedom of speech, and on this occasion presents a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.
- October 8: The father of a student at the school reports the teacher to the police. An FAU leader at the school is also notified of an “extremely outraged father”.
- October 12: The teacher is called in for an interview, and the police tell him about the complaint. The teacher must then have been surprised at who the complaint came from, because the complainant should not have been the father of the students who actually participated in the class. Furthermore, the teacher must have told the police about the class itself, and how he should have allowed the students who did not want to participate to be released. On the basis of the report against him, the teacher himself chose to submit a report for defamation.
- October 16: The teacher is found beheaded outdoors.
Must have shared photo
The murder took place outdoors at around 5pm on Friday afternoon, not far from the relevant secondary school where the teacher taught.
Police were called to the scene after witnesses saw the now deceased perpetrator sneaking around the area with a large bloody knife. When police arrived, he refused to comply with orders, and was eventually shot.
In the meantime, a picture of the beheaded teacher has been shared on Twitter, several French media report. They also write that the police are investigating both whether the picture is real and whether it was the perpetrator himself who shared the picture.
Dagbladet has seen the current Twitter post, which consists of a picture and an accompanying text, but can not verify either the picture or the text. The text, which pays homage to Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, also mentions French President Emmanuel Macron.
So far, nine people have been brought in by French police in connection with the investigation. Already yesterday, four people, all of whom are supposed to be in the 18-year-old’s family, were brought in. Today, another five were brought in.
“Islamist terrorist attack”
French President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene on Friday night and described the attack as an “Islamist terrorist attack”.
– One of our countrymen was killed today because he taught about freedom of speech, the freedom to believe or not believe, said a clearly marked Macron.
The president further said that the attack should not divide France because that is exactly “what the extremists are looking for”.
– We must all stand together as citizens, he said.
It is not many weeks since Macron, in a speech to the French people, spoke out against what he described as “Islamic separatism” in France.
The president supported the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in connection with the trial that is going on against 14 people who are accused of complicity in the attack on the magazine and a Jewish supermarket.
“Now, when the trial for the January 2015 attacks begins, it is to be French to protect the right to make people laugh, the freedom to make fun of and to make caricatures,” Macron said.
The President stated that freedom in France is also the freedom to believe, but also not to believe, which is inseparable from freedom of speech and the right to blasphemy.
– We’re not like that
The senior Russian politician Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the International Council’s International Committee, calls the incident “outrageous”.
To the radio channel Ekho Moskvy, he advocates large-scale investigations if it turns out that the perpetrator is Chechen, and thus a Russian citizen.
– He is not a Chechen and he is not Russian, regardless of what his documents show. We are not like that, neither in Chechnya nor in the other republics of the Russian Federation, says Kosachev.
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