Chechen Teen Identified as Suspect in Teacher Beheading in France

PARIS — A suspect shot useless by police after the grotesque beheading of a historical past instructor in an assault close to Paris was an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee, officers stated Saturday.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s workplace stated authorities investigating the killing of Samuel Paty in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday additionally arrested 9 suspects, together with the teenager’s grandfather, dad and mom and 17-year-old brother.

Paty had mentioned caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad together with his class, resulting in threats and a criticism from a mother or father, police officers stated. Islam prohibits photos of the prophet, asserting that they result in idolatry. The officers couldn’t be named as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate ongoing investigations.

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard stated an investigation for homicide with a suspected terrorist motive had been opened.

Ricard instructed reporters that the suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March and was not recognized to intelligence companies, had been armed with a knife and an airsoft gun, which fires plastic pellets.

The prosecutor stated a textual content claiming duty and {a photograph} of the sufferer have been discovered on the suspect’s cellphone. Ricard stated the suspect had been seen on the college asking college students in regards to the instructor, and the headmaster had acquired a number of threatening cellphone calls.

French leaders supplied messages of unhappiness but additionally of hope after the killing.

“We’ll choose ourselves up collectively, because of our spirit of solidarity,” stated Laurent Brosse, mayor of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

“We’re all affected, all touched by this vile assassination,” stated Schooling Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer in a video message.

Mourners marched close to the college in solidarity, holding indicators that learn “I’m a instructor.”

A police official stated the suspect was shot useless about 600 meters (yards) from the place Paty died. Police opened hearth after he failed to answer orders to place down his arms and acted in a threatening method. The official couldn’t be named due to the continued investigations.

French President Emmanuel Macron went to the college on Friday night time to denounce what he referred to as an “Islamist terrorist assault.” He urged the nation to face united in opposition to extremism.

“One in every of our compatriots was murdered at present as a result of he taught … the liberty of expression, the liberty to consider or not consider,” Macron stated.

The presidential Elysee Palace introduced Saturday that there shall be a nationwide ceremony at a future date in homage to Paty, about whom few particulars have to date emerged.

In a video posted just lately on Twitter, a person describing himself as the daddy of a pupil asserted that Paty had proven a picture of a unadorned man and instructed college students it was “the prophet of the Muslims.”

Earlier than displaying the pictures, the instructor requested Muslim kids to lift their fingers and go away the room as a result of he deliberate to point out one thing stunning, the person stated. “What was the message he wished to ship these kids? What is that this hate?” the person requested. The AP has not been capable of independently affirm these claims.

Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim Russian republic within the North Caucasus. Two wars within the 1990s triggered a wave of emigration, with many Chechens heading for western Europe. France has supplied asylum to many Chechens because the Russian army waged battle in opposition to Islamist separatists in Chechnya within the 1990s and early 2000s.

France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen group in current months, believed linked to native felony exercise and score-settling.

That is the second time in three weeks that terror has struck France linked to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Final month, a younger man from Pakistan was arrested after attacking two folks with a meat cleaver outdoors the previous workplaces of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

The weekly was the goal of a lethal newsroom assault in 2015, and it republished caricatures of the prophet this month to underscore the correct to freedom of knowledge as a trial opened linked to that assault.

Friday’s terror assault got here as Macron’s authorities works on a invoice to deal with Islamic radicals, who authorities declare are making a parallel society outdoors the values of the French Republic.


Elaine Ganley contributed to this report.


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