The history teacher who had his throat cut in a Paris suburb on Friday is said to have been subjected to a threatening campaign.
The father of one of 47-year-old Samuel Pity’s students demanded that he be fired and launched an online campaign to “mobilize” against him after the controversial hour of freedom of expression. This is stated by Jean-François Ricard in the French prosecution.
An 18-year-old man of Chechen origin is said to have been behind the stabbing, according to the prosecution. He was found near the victim and was equipped with a knife and a so-called softgun. According to police, he was shot and killed when he resisted arrest and behaved threateningly.
The Russian embassy in Paris states that the suspect is Abdullakh Anzorov. His family came to France as asylum seekers when Anzorov was six years old, and he had been granted a residence permit this year.
According to the embassy, the 18-year-old no longer had formal ties to Russia.
Nine people have been taken in for questioning after the murder, which has shaken France. Among them are both the student’s father and a well-known Islamist.
It is also the attacker’s 17-year-old brother, parents and grandfather, France’s public prosecutor for anti-terrorism states.
Ricard says the school received threats after class in freedom of expression in early October. Paty is then said to have shown several controversial caricatures, among them a drawing depicting a naked Muhammad. The student’s father allegedly accused Paty of spreading “pornography”.
The schoolgirl and the father reported the teacher, who in turn accused them of defamation, according to Ricard.
Read also: Norwegian Muslims distance themselves from the murder of teachers in Paris
Just days before the murder on Friday, his father identified Paty and posted the school’s address on social media. Earlier this week, he also posted a video in which he claimed that Islam and the Prophet had been offended at school.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene on Friday night and stated that the attack was an “Islamist terrorist attack”. French police opened a terror case shortly after the murder.
Investigators on Saturday would not say whether the attacker had any ties to the school, students or parents, or whether he had seen the online campaign and acted as a result.
Read also: The beheading after showing Muhammad drawings in the classroom – published photo on Twitter
However, the suspected perpetrator is said to have stayed at the school on Friday afternoon and asked for Paty. A picture of the teacher and a message in which he admitted the murder were found on the 18-year-old’s phone.
– 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 during the visit to the scene.
The president further said that the attack should not divide France because that is exactly “what the extremists are looking for”.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) also reacts strongly to the murder.
– Serious and cruel news about the terrorist act in France. We must stand together against attacks on freedom of thought and enlightenment. My thoughts go to the victim’s loved ones, colleagues and students,
Prime Minister Erna Solberg posted one
with identical text, while Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby (V) calls the murder “an attack on all teachers and school staff who inform and challenge their students every day”.
Alvorlige og grusomme nyheter om terrorhandlingen i #Frankrike. Vi må stå sammen mot angrep på tankefrihet og opplysning. Mine tanker går til offerets nærmeste, kolleger og elever— Erna Solberg (@erna_solberg) October 17, 2020
– But they can not kill knowledge or arrest ideas. Therefore, the very backbone of an enlightened society is our teachers, journalists, researchers, writers, artists and everyone who conveys knowledge and who enables us to think for ourselves, Melby says in a comment.
Charlie Hebdo trial
At the same time as the murder of Samuel Paty, a trial is underway in the wake of the terrorist attack on the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, in which twelve people were killed.
The reason Charlie Hebdo became the target of the attack was that the satire magazine had printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad several times.
It must have been these drawings Paty showed to the class, allegedly after first asking those who followed him violated such caricatures to leave the classroom.
The incident is reminiscent of an attack that took place in the French capital at the end of September when two men from a TV production company were attacked with a meat ax outside Charlie Hebdo’s former premises. They were seriously injured but survived.
A 25-year-old Pakistani man has been charged in connection with the attack. In interrogation, he is said to have justified the act with the satire magazine’s publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
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