Man charged for 'liking' picture of beheaded French teacher

22-year-old who "liked" gruesome Twitter picture showing Samuel Paty after he was murdered charged with glorifying terrorism.

Elad Benari ,

Stabbing attack in the Paris suburb of Conflans St Honorine
Stabbing attack in the Paris suburb of Conflans St Honorine

A young man who "liked" a gruesome Twitter picture showing French teacher Samuel Paty after he was murdered has been charged with glorifying terrorism, French authorities said Sunday, according to the AFP news agency.

Paty was attacked and murdered on the street in a Paris suburb for showing his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a class on free speech.

His killer, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee who had been living in France since he was a child, was shot dead by police. Before his death he posted a picture of the teacher's severed head on Twitter.

The 22-year-old man charged on Sunday is also of Chechen origin, the public prosecutor in the central town of Blois, where he lives, said.

The man was already on the radar of the authorities for having endorsed a massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that first published the Mohammed cartoons.

Several knives and other weapons were found at his home, said prosecutor Frederic Chevallier. The man denied being radicalized, Chevallier added.

Since Paty's murder on October 16 the French authorities have launched a clampdown on radical Islam.

Police have carried out dozens of raids on individuals and organizations suspected of supporting or abetting extremism.

Last Wednesday, the French government issued an order to dissolve the domestic pro-Hamas Collective Cheikh Yassine.

Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said the group was formally banned because it was “implicated, linked to Friday’s attack” and it was used to promote anti-republican hate speech.

In recent years, France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by ISIS, the biggest one being the attack in November of 2015 in which 129 people were murdered.

The country has been under a heightened alert in recent years in the wake of the attacks.

Just last month, a 25-year-old man wounded two people in a meat cleaver attack in Paris. He was subsequently charged with "attempted murder with relation to a terrorist enterprise."