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A French schoolgirl has admitted she made up accusations about her teacher that ultimately led to his murder.
History and Geography teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded last year after showing images of the Prophet Muhammad to his class during a lesson on free speech last October.
The 13-year-old student claimed to her father that Paty had asked Muslim students to leave the class before he showed students a ‘photograph of the Prophet [Muhammad] naked’ at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the west of Paris.
The pupil’s father filed a legal complaint and sparked a hate campaign against Paty, posting a video online in which he detailed the allegations. Paty received death threats as a result of the accusations, as well as a global reaction and outrage from Muslim countries.
Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov 10 days after the allegations were first made, but the student has now admitted that she ‘lied’ to please her father.
The teenager’s lawyer, Mbeko Tabula, confirmed on Monday that the student did not even attend the class where the incident is said to have taken place. Tabula further stated that the 13-year-old was off sick on the day in question.
According to AFP news agency, the lawyer commented, ‘She lied because she felt trapped in a spiral because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson.’
The student had reportedly been suspended from school prior to the incident for not attending classes, though she told her father that her suspension came after she expressed anger towards Paty for showing the pictures.
French daily newspaper Le Parisien reported that ‘she would not have dared to confess to her father the real reasons for her exclusion shortly before the tragedy, which was in fact linked to her bad behaviour’, according to The Independent.
The 13-year-old was charged with slander, while her father was been arrested for ‘complicity in a terrorist killing’ as prosecutors argued there was ‘direct causal link’ between the hate campaign and Paty’s murder.
Tabula has argued that the student should be saved from accusations, and that the father was to blame for ‘excessive and disproportionate behaviour’.
Anzorov is said to have tracked Paty down and beheaded him in the street in an effort to avenge his victim’s use of the images. He was shot dead by anti-terrorist police shortly after the attack.
The killing of the teacher stunned French residents and led to an outpouring of support, with memorial ceremonies and marches taking place around the country.
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