It all started with a lie. The Professor Samuel Paty was beheaded on October 16, 2020 by an Islamist, and many details about the gear that led to his murder have come to light. Among them, the original deception of the student who ignited the campaign against Paty by complaining to her parents that the teacher showed a cartoon of Muhammad and excluded Muslims from the classroom.
The complaint was false , as the student confirmed in a statement to investigators partially released this week by Le Parisien newspaper . The student had not attended that class at the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine school, near Paris. And no student was ever excluded because of their religion.
The testimonies of several students, from the days after the attack, pointed out that the 13-year-old student did not attend the class on freedom of expression in which Paty showed the cartoon. This was also confirmed by the teachers of the center and the internal documents that showed that that day, last October 6, the young woman was absent.
Her mother signed a receipt claiming that she was ill and therefore could not attend class. All this appears, in detail, in the report of the General Inspection of Education published at the beginning of December.
Now it has been known that in November, during one of the interrogations in the case for which she is accused, the teenager corroborated the information by admitting to having given a wrong version when she said that she attended the class in which the cartoons were discussed.
It was the daughter’s complaint that led her father to report Paty to the police and to spread videos on social media, with the help of an Islamist preacher, that targeted the teacher. Ten days after the cartoon class, Paty was murdered while leaving school.
“I lied about one thing,” the student told police, according to Le Parisien. “It wasn’t there on the day of the cartoons.” “If I had not told my father this, all this would not have happened,” he lamented. And he added that she wanted to become the spokesperson against Paty of the alleged complaints of a class in which she was not.
According to the report of the Educational Inspection, and as confirmed by herself, she also lied by stating that Paty expelled her from school for two days for refusing to leave the classroom while the teacher showed a picture of the naked prophet. The reality was different.
The teacher briefly showed a drawing that could be shocking to some students and, before showing it, invited them not to look at it if they did not want to, without distinguishing religions and without inviting anyone to leave the classroom.
And the parents of the student learned in the same week, through the school administration, that the reason for the expulsion had nothing to do with Paty or with the cartoons or anything similar, but with the repeated absences and delays , bad behavior and violations of school regulations, according to the Inspection report.
The assassination of Professor Samuel Paty: a blow to the core of the French Republic
Virginie Le Roy, a lawyer for the Paty family, has reacted to the adolescent’s confession: “If a confirmation that this was false was still needed, now we have it. This is important for Samuel Paty’s memory, for his honor and for his family ”.
“At the level of the facts,” he continues, “it had already been established that the girl had lied, since there was a proof of absence signed by her mother and the school administration had confirmed that she was absent, so everything that I could explain about the class was false. His position was untenable ”.
“He regrets it terribly,” the lawyer for the minor, Mbeko Tabula, defended on the Europe 1 channel. “Above all, I do not want it to be said that she is responsible for this beheading, to the extent that the attacker allowed himself such cruelty because he was inhabited by a death instinct, and he only needed a pretext to act.”
One part of the investigation is focused on clarifying how, in less than two weeks, an incident by a class on freedom of expression led to an attack that shook the country. The terrorist was Abdoullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin living since he was a child in the city of Évreux, 80 kilometers from Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Anzorov saw a video of the father pointing at Paty and took action. After beheading the professor and confronting the police, he was shot dead by the officers.
The Education Inspectorate, in its report, describes the atmosphere of threats and fear that existed in the school in the days before the attack while increasing the pressure from the father and the preacher who helped him to agitate the campaign against Paty.
“The school had received threats against Samuel Paty, in social networks there was a campaign that had acquired amazing dimensions,” says lawyer Le Roy, who remembers the context in which this occurred: the trial for the attacks in 2015 against the weekly Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons and jihadist threats for republishing the cartoons.
“There should have been police protection, without a doubt,” says the lawyer. “Visibly there was a dysfunction. Which one and because of whom, for now I don’t know ”.