A history teacher in France named Samuel Paty was found decapitated last year after one of his 13-year-old students spread a rumor about him. The teen has now admitted to making up the tall tale which began the alarming domino effect that led to the professor’s murder, according to reports on Tuesday.
The teen, whose name is still confidential, confessed that she had “lied” about a situation in the classroom at the school west of Paris to make her father happy, according to the Independent.
Her initial story was that her 47-year-old teacher had told Muslim students to leave the room before he displayed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad while giving a lesson on free speech, the outlet says.
The 13-year-old allegedly informed her father that she was put on suspension for two days after she criticized Paty for putting his Muslim students into the hall while he displayed the sacrilegious photo.
Her false story prompted her father to file a legal complaint against Paty, which then kicked off a campaign on social media, according to the BBC.
Severe hostility built up against the teacher since images of Muhammad are tabu in Islam and seen by Muslims as very offensive.
Within ten days of the supposed incident, Paty’s head was cut off by an 18-year-old Russian-born man named Abdullakh Anzorov, who was later shot to death by police.
France’s terrorism prosecutor reported in October that two other teens will also be charged in the beheading for supposedly pointing Paty out to his murderer in exchange for money.
Those teenagers, ages 14 and 15, were approached with an offer of between $355 and $415 by the killer to identify the teacher, the state prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard reported.
“The investigation has established that the perpetrator knew the name of the teacher, the name of the school and its address, yet he did not have the means to identify him,” the prosecutor explained.
“That identification has only been possible with the help of students from the same school.”
Before being taken down by police, Anzorov uploaded a picture of the teacher’s head on Twitter, posting, “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Muhammad down,” anti-terrorist prosecutor Ricard confirmed.
However, it has now come to light that the teenager who started the whole thing did not even attend class on the day of the purported situation at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
The 13-year-old student evidently was suspended the day before for not attending class and wanted to hide the truth from her father, according to the French newspaper Le Parisien.
On Monday, her lawyer acknowledged that the girl did not attend class but contended it was because she wasn’t feeling well that day.
“She lied because she felt trapped in a spiral because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson,” her attorney, Mbeko Tabula, said to Agence France-Presse.
Nevertheless, her attorney defended her father saying that he should not be the one responsible for the chain of events because of his “excessive and disproportionate behavior,” according to the Independent.
The girl is now facing charges of slander, while her father was taken into custody under suspicion of being an accessory in a terrorist incident, according to the outlet.
In October, President Emmanuel Macron gave France’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honor, to Paty during a somber ceremony at the Sorbonne university in Paris, according to Agence France-Presse.
He said the teacher was murdered by “cowards” for reflecting the French Republic’s secular, democratic values before he swore, “We will not give up cartoons.”
“He was killed because Islamists want our future,” Macron stated. “They will never have it.”