French prosecutors are seeking to try 14 people over the beheading of a teacher by an Islamic extremist in 2020, a crime that shocked France, a source close to the case told AFP on Friday.
The most serious charges — complicity in a terrorist murder — have been recommended for two friends of the Chechen refugee who murdered teacher Samuel Paty after he showed pictures of the Prophet Mohammed to his pupils.
The national terror crime prosecutor’s office has also recommended charges against six other adults and six children for alleged offences linked to the killing in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
The murderer, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, was shot dead by police at the scene.
Prosecutors believe his friends, named as Azim E. and Naim B. in the investigation, accompanied Anzorov to buy a knife and Naim. B travelled with him to the school.
Investigating magistrates will make the final call on whether to charge the suspects and send them to trial.
Paty was targeted after messages spread on social media that he had shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to his class.
The 47-year-old history and geography teacher had used the magazine as part of an ethics class to discuss free speech laws in France, which does not criminalise blasphemy.
Prosecutors have also recommended charges of associating with terrorists for the father of a student at Paty’s school, a radical Islamic preacher, as well as a Muslim convert in contact with Anzorov via Twitter.
Paty has become a symbol of France’s fight to maintain its strict secular values, with President Emmanuel Macron calling him a “quiet hero” of the republic.