Teenager charged in France for hailing teacher's beheading

The 14-year old boy, an Afghan national, openly welcomed the killing in class, saying he "would have done the same," the La Provence newspaper reported.

Relatives and colleagues hold a picture of Samuel Paty during the 'Marche Blanche' in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, on 20 October 2020, in solidarity after he was beheaded for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Picture: AFP

PARIS – A teenager has been charged in the southern French city of Marseille with supporting terrorism for remarks he made during a homage for murdered teacher Samuel Paty, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The 14-year old boy, an Afghan national, openly welcomed the killing in class, saying he "would have done the same," the La Provence newspaper reported.

The teenager had been released after questioning but will remain under supervision, Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens told AFP.

Marseille has clocked up seven such school-related incidents this week, the head of the region's education authority Bernard Beignier told La Provence.

Three of them were believed to involve the "justification of a terrorist act."

Paty was beheaded near his school outside Paris last month by an 18-year-old Chechen man after an angry online campaign over him showing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed as part of a free-speech lesson.

On Tuesday, prosecutors in the eastern city of Strasbourg opened an inquiry into two 12-year-olds over comments made during a national homage to Paty, suggesting that the teacher had got what he deserved.

They added that two similar incidents were also reported involving children aged eight and nine, prompting a social welfare inquiry.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin told lawmakers this week that 66 inquires into alleged support of terrorism had been opened since Paty's death, often involving "young people, aged 12 to 16."

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