PARIS (AP) – A French juvenile court on Friday convicted six teenagers for their roles in the 2020 beheading of a teacher by an Islamic extremist, an attack that shocked the country and shone a light on the real-world dangers of online hate speech.
Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, was killed near his school after showing his class cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a debate on free expression. Attacker Abdoullakh Anzorov, a young Chechen who had become radicalized, was killed by police.
The court found five of the defendants, who were 14 and 15 at the time of the attack, guilty of involvement in staking out the teacher and identifying him for the attacker. The sixth defendant, 13 at the time, was found guilty of lying about the classroom debate in comments that aggravated online anger against the teacher.
After the ruling, the six defendants left the courtroom without speaking. Some had their heads down as they listened to the verdict. One appeared to wipe tears.
The teenagers – all students at Paty’s school – acknowledged wrongdoing, and testified that they didn’t know the teacher would be killed.
One was given a six-month prison term but…
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