On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron held a national memorial at the Sorbonne University in Paris to pay tribute to the history teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded last week by a man angered at his decision to share controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad with his class.
The official memorial was attended by Paty’s family and other some 400 guests and government members. A giant screen was installed outside.
In his speech, Macron described Samuel Paty as “one of those teachers that we never forget”.
He denounced “the cowards” behind the crime and said that Paty was killed because he “embodied” the values of the French Republic.
“We will continue the fight for freedom,” of which Paty has become “the face”, Macron said.
Paty, 47, was murdered on Friday by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who had become radicalized. He was in turn shot dead by police.
The stirring ceremony, with readings that included a poem by Albert Camus to his own teacher, came hours after the prosecutor sketched out how the teenager came to kill Paty, with the suspected help of two young students at the school in a northwest Paris suburb.
Jean-Francois Ricard said a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old are among seven people taken before an investigating magistrate on accusations of “complicity in murder in relation with a terrorist undertaking” and “criminal conspiracy.”
Authorities have identified the killer as Abdoullakh Anzorov., a Moscow-born Chechen refugee.
Anzorov claimed responsibility in a text accompanied by a photograph of the victim found on his phone.
“Two more men, aged 18 and 19, are accused of accompanying the attacker when he bought the weapons, including a knife and an airsoft gun,” the prosecutor said.
One of them allegedly drove Anzorov, who lived in the Normandy town of Evreux about 90 kilometers (56 miles) away, to near the school about three hours before the killing.
“Samuel Paty was the victim of a conspiracy of stupidity, hate, lies … hate of the other … hate of what we profoundly are,” Macron said during his speech, which blended honors to the victim and the teaching profession with his government’s efforts to root out Islamist radicals.