I lied: Schoolgirl at centre of hate campaign against Samuel Paty admits to false claims

Teenager was absent from class when teacher showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed

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 Mohammed. His murder in a Paris suburb on October 16 shocked the country and brought back memories of a wave of Islamist violence in 2015. - Paty, 47, was attacked on October 16 on his way home from the junior high school where he taught by 18-year-old Chechen man Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police. Following the attack, tens of thousands of people took part in rallies countrywide to honour Paty and defend freedom of expression. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)
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A French schoolgirl who sparked a deadly online hate campaign against her teacher Samuel Paty after he showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has admitted to lying and spreading false claims about him.

The girl claimed Paty - who was beheaded by an Islamist extremist in October last year - asked Muslims to leave the class when he showed the cartoons.

The girl's father later amplified the allegations online, and 18-year-old Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov tracked down Paty in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west 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 said on Monday.

Paty showed the cartoons, which were first published in the Charlie Hebdo magazine and are deemed offensive by many Muslims, during a civics class in which students debated free speech and blasphemy.

The schoolgirl, who had already been threatened with expulsion because of disciplinary problems, was not in the class.

She has since been charged with slander, while her father and another man, an Islamist preacher and campaigner, have been charged with "complicity in murder" over the killing.

Paty's murderer was shot dead by police shortly after the attack.

Le Parisien newspaper reported on Monday that his last contact was with someone in Syria who is a member of an extremist group.

A draft new security law being discussed in the French parliament would make it punishable with a jail term to publish information online about a public servant, knowing that doing so could cause them harm.