Minister: murdered teacher honored with France’s highest award

Samuel Paty, the 47-year old history teacher beheaded last week by a suspected Islamist, will be posthumously given France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has said.

Paty was killed on Friday outside his school in a 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 Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression. Muslims believe that any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.

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

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