14 Accused of Terrorism in Trial Over French Teacher's Beheading

More than two years after an Islamic extremist murdered and beheaded a French secondary school teacher in October 2020, French prosecutors sought to convict 14 suspects related to the crime. This incident shocked France and the world.

Authorities recommended charging two of the murder suspect’s friends with being complicit in a terrorist murder, the most severe accusation against the defendants.

France’s national terror crime prosecutor’s office has also recommended charging six adults and six children for alleged offenses connected to the killing of French secondary school teacher Samuel Paty in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

A history and geography teacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, was stabbed and decapitated on October 16, 2020, near his school by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee named Abdoullakh Anzorov.

The murder suspect was shot on the scene by French authorities during a confrontation. The crime occurred after Anzorov, unrelated to either Paty or the school he worked with, saw a video about the teacher showing a civics class cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

During his ethics class, Paty used the magazine as lesson material when discussing free speech laws in France, which don’t criminalize blasphemy.

The killing came as the country was still recovering from the wounds inflicted by a similar Islamist attack when two French Islamist terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris, killing some of the staff, including editors of the controversial newspaper.

French prosecutors are convinced that Anzorov’s friends, named Azim E. and Naim B. in the investigation, helped Anzorov carry out the attack by accompanying the murderer in buying a knife with Naim. B allegedly traveled with Anzorov to the school.

Authorities have also suggested placing charges against the father of one of Paty’s students, a radical Muslim preacher, and a Muslim convert who was in contact with Anzorov via Twitter.

Samuel Paty became the symbol of France’s fight to maintain its strict secularist values amidst the threat of growing Islamism in France and other countries worldwide. President Emmanuel Macron hailed him as a “quiet hero” of the Republic and even said that Islamists wish to take France’s future and said they would never have it.

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