PARIS – President Emmanuel Macron promised Wednesday that France will not renounce freedoms taught by a schoolteacher beheaded by a radical Islamist last week after showing caricatures of the prophet of Islam to his class.
At a national memorial at the Sorbonne University in central Paris, Macron praised history teacher Samuel Paty as the “face of the Republic” who “believed in knowledge.”
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.
“Samuel Paty ... became the face of the Republic, of our will to shatter terrorists, to (do away with) Islamists, to live like a community of free citizens in our country," Macron said. “We will continue."
A ceremonial military guard carried the teacher's coffin into the cobblestone courtyard of the Sorbonne where the memorial took place before his family, government members and select guests. A giant screen was installed outside.
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.”
The killer offered students at the school where Paty taught 300-350 euros ($355-$415) to help him pick out the educator, Ricard said during a news conference.