Report: Apologies for Terrorism ‘Exploding’ in France After Samuel Paty Murder

This picture taken on November 3, 2020 show a poster depicting French teacher Samuel Paty
THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

A French judicial source has claimed that threats and apologists for terrorism have surged in the weeks following the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty.

Since the last week of October, French investigators have opened 200 separate cases for what the French legal system calls apologies for terrorism, as well as death threats and incitement to hatred in connection to the beheading of the 47-year-old history and geography teacher, who was murdered by an Islamic radical Chechen refugee.

A judicial source told French daily newspaper Sud Ouest that the number of threats has surged in the weeks since the murder.

“It’s exploding! There are many threats against public figures, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, several ministers, deputies, teachers,” the source said, adding that many of the threats referenced beheading.

In Paris, the prosecutor’s office has claimed to have opened at least 70 investigations into people praising the murder of Paty along with threats of violence referencing the murder.

Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz said that the cases came from radicalised people but also from “young people” and some with mental illnesses.

French Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti has also called on prosecutors to be more proactive in prosecuting those who make threats towards teachers, public officials, or law enforcement officials.

There have also been several prosecutions of those who have praised the terror attack that took the life of Mr Paty, which was motivated by the fact he showed cartoons of Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo to his class during a lesson on free speech.

In one case, a 43-year-old man in an Amiens prison was sentenced to eight months after he praised the attack in front of fellow inmates, and a 42-year-old man in the commune of Colmar was handed six months for praising the attack to his probation officer.

According to a report from earlier this month, two 12-year-old children in Strasbourg were placed under investigation after allegedly praising the attack, as well.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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