France to confer nation’s highest honour on beheaded teacher Samuel Paty

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Samuel Paty, the 47-year old history teacher beheaded by a suspected Islamist last week, will posthumously get France’s highest award, the “Legion d’Honneur”, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told BFM TV on Tuesday.

Paty was murdered on Friday in broad daylight outside his school in a middle-class Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin. Police shot the attacker dead.

The teenager sought to avenge his victim’s use of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.

The murder shocked France, and carried echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Public figures called the killing an attack on the Republic and on French values.

A national ceremony in honour of Paty will be held at Paris’ Sorbonne university on Wednesday.

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