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Schoolgirl admits to lying about beheaded French teacher

Relatives and colleagues hold a picture of Samuel Paty during the 'Marche Blanche' in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, on October 20, 2020, in solidarity after a teacher was beheaded for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)
Relatives and colleagues hold a picture of Samuel Paty during the 'Marche Blanche' in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris, on October 20, 2020, in solidarity after a teacher was beheaded for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

A schoolgirl who sparked a deadly online hate campaign against a French teacher after he showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to students has admitted to lying and spreading false claims about him, her lawyer says.

The girl had claimed the teacher, Samuel Paty, who was beheaded by an Islamic extremist in the street in October last year, had asked Muslims to leave the class when he showed the cartoons.

The girl’s father later lodged a legal complaint and amplified the allegations online, leading an 18-year-old Chechen refugee to track down Paty in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris.

“She lied because she felt trapped in a spiral because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson,” her lawyer Mbeko Tabula says, confirming a report from the Parisien newspaper.

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