A French school girl, 13, has admitted to lying about Samuel Paty, her secondary school history teacher who was murdered in October 2020 for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
According to the BBC, the unnamed girl had told her father that Paty had asked Muslim students to leave the classroom before showing the cartoons.
The father — Moroccan-born Brahim Chnina — later started a social media campaign against Paty that prosecutors are linking to the murder of the teacher by a radical Islamist terrorist.
However, the girl had been absent from the class on that day and was in fact suspended from school due to playing truant, reported The Guardian.
In an attempt to avoid her father's anger, the girl had told him that her suspension was due to a disagreement she had with Paty over the cartoons, which supposedly depicted a naked Prophet.
Accusations catch attention of terrorist
Chnina subsequently lodged a complaint with the school and police, accusing Paty of distributing a pornographic images and demanded he be sacked from the school.
According to The Guardian, the accusations gained traction on social media and eventually caught the attention of Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old radicalised Chechen migrant living in Normandy.
Some 10 days after the girl lied to her father, Anzorov travelled to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and beheaded Paty.
Shortly after the attack, he was shot dead by police.
The Guardian reported that Paty had been conducting a class on the subject of "dilemmas" when he brought up the Charlie Hebdo attack — a massacre incited by the French satirical magazine's cartoon depictions of the Prophet.
Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are considered highly offensive by Muslims.
Paty is said to have invited Muslim pupils who thought they might be shocked to close their eyes or briefly stand in the corridor while he showed the rest of the class a caricature of the Prophet.
Father's "excessive behaviour"
According to the BBC, the girl has been charged with slander, while her father and an Islamist preacher face charges of complicity in the killing.
Her lawyer told AFP that the lies were a result of her classmates asking her "to be a spokesperson".
The Guardian also quoted the lawyer as saying that the weight of the tragedy should not be shouldered by the 13-year-old girl.
"It was the father’s excessive behaviour, making and posting a video incriminating the professor that led to this spiral," the lawyer said.
Chnina has told police that he had been "idiotic and stupid".
"I never thought my messages would be seen by terrorists. I didn’t want to harm anyone with that message."
Top image by Rafael Garcin via Unsplash