Chechnya buries teenager who beheaded French school teacher – rights adviser

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A teenager who beheaded a French school teacher in a killing that convulsed France has been buried in his native Chechnya after his relatives repatriated his body, a local human rights expert said on Monday.

Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old male born in Muslim-majority Chechnya, was shot dead in October by French police after slaying middle school teacher Samuel Paty in a suburb of Paris.

Anzorov had wanted to punish Paty for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad to pupils in a lesson about freedom of expression. The caricatures are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

Kheda Saratova, an adviser on human rights to Chechen authorities, said Anzorov was buried at a traditional Muslim ceremony in the Chechen village of Shalazhi and that his relatives and acquaintances had attended, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Other Russian media, including the Fontanka outlet in St Petersburg, said that Anzorov had been buried on Sunday with honours in Chechnya, part of Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus.

A procession of scores of people walking through snowy streets could be seen chanting prayers and carrying what appeared to be a body wrapped in green cloth in social media footage reposted by Fontanka.

Those reports and videos could not be immediately verified by Reuters.

The Caucasus Knot outlet, which focuses on the region, reported that around 200 people had taken part in the ceremony and that officials had sealed off the area for security reasons while it took place.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, has criticised French President Emmanuel Macron’s handling of the killing, accusing him of inspiring terrorists by justifying cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad as protected by free speech rights.

The Kremlin said on Monday it had no information about the burial, but condemned what it said was an act of terrorism that deserved “nothing but profound condemnation and rejection.”

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