National tribute in France to the murdered professor, seven people before a judge

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“Samuel Paty was killed because he embodied the Republic”: Emmanuel Macron paid a solemn tribute Wednesday to the professor murdered five days earlier in an Islamist attack, affirming that France would not renounce freedom of expression and secularism.

“We will continue, Professor. We will defend the freedom that you taught so well and we will promote secularism, we will not renounce caricatures, drawings, even if others are receding, ”declared the Head of State.

The ceremony had started a few minutes earlier with the entry of Mr. Paty’s coffin, in the courtyard of the famous Parisian university of the Sorbonne, a symbolic place of education.

Samuel Paty was beheaded in the middle of the street on Friday by Abdullakh Anzorov, a young Russian Chechen refugee, then shot dead by the police.

He wanted to “avenge the prophet” against this teacher who had shown caricatures of Muhammad during a course on freedom of expression, as evidenced by an audio message recorded by the assailant shortly after the attack.

“Samuel Paty was killed because the Islamists want our future and they know that with quiet heroes like him they will never have it”, insisted Mr. Macron.

“In France, the lights never go out,” he added.

In front of many ministers, politicians and a hundred students from the Paris region, the ceremony was marked by several speeches from relatives of the teacher and by the reading of the famous letter from Albert Camus to his teacher, Mr. Germain .

Seven suspected of complicity

In terms of the investigation, seven people were presented to a judge on Wednesday for “complicity in a terrorist assassination”.

Among these seven suspects, two minors aged 14 and 15 are accused of having appointed the teacher to the murderer in exchange for “300 to 350 euros”, said the anti-terrorism prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard.

“To prosecute young minors in a terrorist case is not an unprecedented thing, but questions”, commented the prosecutor.

Among the other suspects brought to justice is Brahim C., a parent of a student who posted videos calling for popular reprisals against the teacher because he had shown the cartoons.

He is accused, like the Islamist activist Abdelhakim Sefrioui, of having “named the professor as a target on social networks”.

The investigators of the counterterrorism services are also interested in messages exchanged on WhatsApp between this father and the attacker.

On Wednesday, in his tribute speech Emmanuel Macron briefly mentioned “the cowards” who delivered the teacher “to the barbarians”.

Three friends of the murderer, including one suspected of having escorted him and another of having accompanied him at the time of the purchase of his weapon, were also to be heard by a judge.

Offensive against Islamism

In recent days, many teachers have denounced the difficulties they had to teach, in particular on questions of secularism.

“Unfortunately, there is no need to show caricatures to be questioned by students when we talk about secularism, freedom of expression”, regrets Lionel, professor in the Paris region.

On Wednesday, a 16-year-old high school student was indicted in Toulouse (southwest) after insulting a teacher who had spoken of wearing the veil in public space.

At the same time, the executive continues its all-out offensive against people and structures suspected of acquaintances with Islamists, Emmanuel Macron having promised Tuesday to “step up actions”.

In the sights of the authorities in particular, the pro-Palestinian collective Cheikh Yassine, created by Abdelhakim Sefrioui and dissolved Wednesday in the Council of Ministers.

About fifty other French associations deemed close to “radical Islam” could be closed.

The Pantin mosque, north of Paris, which brings together more than 1,300 faithful was to close its doors Wednesday evening for six months. Its officials are accused of having relayed the video of the student’s parent on Facebook.

The French authorities have promised “a war against the enemies of the Republic”. “The question is not whether there will be an attack, but when,” insisted the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin.

This assassination is part of a “context of calls for murders” launched since the republication of the cartoons of Mohammed by Charlie Hebdo in early September before the opening of the trial on the January 2015 attacks in the French capital, according to Mr. Ricard.

For example, he mentioned a chopper attack perpetrated on September 25 in front of the former premises of the satirical newspaper and “three communications” from Al-Qaeda and its Yemeni branch which incited the “murder” of the people behind the rebroadcast. of these drawings.

“Fifteen investigations” for facts of “apology for terrorism”, “death threats” or “provocation” to crime have been opened since the assassination of the professor, also announced the Paris prosecutor’s office.

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