Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher described as a professional close to his students, was killed on Friday by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin. The attacker was shot dead by police shortly after the murder. Prosecutors said the young man wanted to punish him for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. They also announced that among the suspects detained on Saturday are two men who launched a real campaign against the teacher on social networks: the father of one of the students and a man in the spotlight of the intelligence services.
“I can’t imagine how it got here. That raises the issue of the role of social networks, “said Cécile Ribet Retel, a member of the parents’ association at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Île-de-France region), where the crime took place.
The teacher had also shown the cartoons last year, said one of his students at the time, stating that no fuss had arisen then and that the teacher had a sense of humor.
“She was joking. He was very involved in his lessons “, says a 13-year-old student.
The first issues regarding the civil culture lesson arose on October 7 when a parent posted an angry video on Facebook. He said the teacher presented the cartoons and punished his daughter of the Muslim faith when she expressed her displeasure. He demanded the removal of the professor from the department. The next day, the parent went to the principal to file a complaint, prosecutors said. In the evening, he posted another video on Facebook, and this time he provided the name of the teacher and the school.
On October 12, a new video appeared in which the student’s father was the protagonist of an interview with someone who could not be seen on camera. The man said the French president was inciting hatred against Muslims and threatening to protest if the professor was fired. He was known to the intelligence services, said anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard, without specifying how. The father has a half-sister who joined the Islamic State in Syria.
Threats to the school
School staff sought to resolve the dispute. The school principal convened a meeting with parents dissatisfied with that lesson, but the man who posted the videos on Facebook did not attend.
“Went well. My wife was present and told me that the teacher made a mistake, it can happen to anyone. There is no need for all that agitation created on social networks “, said Nordine Chaouadi. By Tuesday last week, the principal had managed to de-stress the school atmosphere, a local official familiar with the talks said, but wished to remain anonymous. But things had escalated on social media. According to prosecutors, the school has been receiving threats on social networks since the videos appeared.
The Chechen teenager posted on Twitter a photo with his victim and a message for the French president in which he assumed responsibility for the “execution” of one of his infidels.
The professor will be honored in Paris on Sunday and a national tribute will take place on Wednesday. Four close relatives of the teenager were detained along with five other people, including the author of the Facebook video posts and his interlocutor, a man known to the intelligence services.