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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - PARIS — A French court on Friday convicted six teenagers in connection with the 2020 beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty, whose murder shocked the country.
The teacher had shown his pupils caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression, angering some Muslim parents. Most Muslims avoid depictions of prophets, considering them to be blasphemous.
Among those on trial was a teenage girl who had allegedly told her parents that Paty had asked Muslim pupils to leave the room before showing the caricatures.
The court found her guilty of having made false accusation charges and slanderous comments, as it was established that she was not in the class at the time.
The other adolescents were found guilty of charges related to taking part in a pre-meditated criminal conspiracy and helping to prepare an ambush.
A woman holds a placard reading "I am a teacher" as people gather on the Vieux Port in Marseille on Oct. 18, in homage to history teacher Samuel Paty.
A teacher is beheaded, and France’s war over secularism, freedom of speech and religious equality reignites
Paty, 47, was killed outside his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old assailant of Chechen origin, who was shot dead by police soon after the attack.
The court found those adolescents guilty of having pointed out Paty to the murderer.
Louis Cailliez, lawyer for Paty’s sister Mickaelle, told reporters his client was “satisfied with the full conviction,” but less so with the sentences, that she found “too lenient”.
Dylan Slama, a lawyer for one of the teenagers, said that though it was hard to talk about satisfaction in such tragic circumstances, there was a sense of relief for his client.
The heaviest sentence was given to an adolescent who was formally given a 6-month prison sentence, although he should be able to serve this at home while under electronic surveillance.
The girl who was found guilty of making false accusations and slanderous comments was given an 18-month suspended sentence and put on probation measures for two years.
All six teenagers’ suspended sentences are tied to them following a strict set of probation measures for two to three years.
Another trial in connection with Paty’s killing, involving adults this time, is set to take place at the end of next year. — CNN
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