Two pupils among seven people facing charges over beheaded history teacher

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Seven people, including two students, are to appear before an anti-terrorism judge on Wednesday to decide if they will face criminal charges, following the murder of history teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist terrorist on Friday.

Samuel Paty was assassinated after a two-week campaign led by a parent, after a lesson on freedom of expression during which the teacher showed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

The killer, Abdullakh Anzarov, an 18-year-old Chechen whose family was given asylum in France, was shot dead by police.

Among those appearing in court today is the parent who instigated the campaign against Paty.

Police have discovered that he exchanged WhatsApp messages with Anzarov in the days before the killing.

The material the parent uploaded was widely shared, including in the mosque in Pantin, just north of Paris. The government has closed the mosque over the role its leaders are alleged to have played inciting hatred and violence against Paty.

The beheading has sparked widespread revulsion throughout the country and fear among teachers, prompting a government crackdown on political Islam. “Our fellow citizens expect actions”, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday evening.

Pro-Hamas group banned

Around 50 organisations face closure amid concerns that they do not adhere to France’s values.

Among those to be dissolved is the Sheikh Yassine Collective, which supports Hamas, the main Palestinian Islamist militant group, which is classified by the EU as a terrorist organisation.

The government said the group was “directly implicated” in the execution of Paty.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the group’s founder, Islamist activist Abdelhakim Sefrioui and the disgruntled parent issued a "fatwa" against Paty. Safrioui is also now in police custody.

President Macron and much of the French political establishment will attend a solemn national service in tribute to Paty on Wednesday evening, during which the French leader will pay homage to the teacher.

Paty is to be posthumously awarded with France’s highest honour, the Légion d’Honneur.