French teacher receives death threat containing photo of slain colleague by radicalized Muslim teen

A teacher in southern France has received a death threat containing a photo of Samuel Paty, prosecutors say.

Two French teachers in the region of Aix-en-Provence have been sent threatening letters, the public prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

“In September, a couple of teachers received a photo of Samuel Paty in the mail, followed by a letter threatening their lives,” said Dominique Laurens, the Marseille prosecutor.

The matter is now being investigated by the regional division of France’s public security directorate, she added.

“The investigation is ongoing and at this stage, there is no evidence to link these facts to a course given by one of the teachers,” Laurens told AFP.

One of the letters contained an image of Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher who was beheaded outside his Paris school by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee on October 16, 2020.

His attacker, a young radicalized Chechen refugee called Abdoullakh Anzorov, was later shot dead by police.

Two weeks earlier, Paty had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on the freedom of speech.

The suspect said the attack on the 47-year-old history and geography teacher was revenge for Paty showing his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, during a lesson on freedom of expression.

One year after Samuel Paty’s murder the impact of his death especially on teachers in French schools is still festering.

‘Now I’m weighing up every word’

Speaking anonymously to the Libération newspaper earlier this week, colleagues of Paty reported being “afraid” on a daily basis.

“There is not a morning when we don’t think about him,” said one teacher. “I walk past his class with a heavy heart,” said another.

Police later charged a girl after her complaints allegedly sparked an online campaign against Paty, which caught the attention of Anzorov. The girl told her father that Muslim students in Paty’s class were asked to identify themselves. She later admitted not being present in class on the day of the lesson in question. Other students were charged with identifying Paty as his murderer in exchange for money.

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