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French police question 8-year-old on suspicion of “defending terrorism”

France is in a state of “collective hysteria,” says Sefen Guez Guez, the lawyer for a second grader questioned by police in France. (via BFMTV)

There are also reports of a mental ill man being arrested and jailed.

French police question 8-year-old on suspicion of “defending terrorism”

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Wed, 01/28/2015 – 23:26

Just when it seemed that the crackdown on free speech in France could not get worse, French police today questioned a second grader on suspicion of “defending terrorism.”

BFMTV says that administrators at a primary school in Nice reported the child to police on 21 January after the boy allegedly said that he “felt he was on the side of the terrorists.”

“A police station is absolutely no place for an eight-year-old child,” the boy’s lawyer Sefen Guez Guez told BFMTV. He said that the incident showed that France was going through a state of “collective hysteria.”

Guez Guez said that on 8 January, the day after two French gunmen attacked the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, the boy, whose name has been reported as Ahmed, was in class when he was asked if he was “Charlie.”

“He answered, ‘I am on the side of the terrorists, because I am against the caricatures of the prophet,’” the lawyer said.

Since the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and the lethal attack by a third French gunman on a Jewish supermarket, French government officials and media have adopted the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” – I am Charlie – to indicate social conformity and support for official policies, all under the guise of supporting free speech.

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France, which has taken up Ahmed’s case, provided these additional details: “On 8 January, Ahmed, a second grader, was called on by his teacher who asked him if he was Charlie. Being of Muslim religion and aged only eight, he opposed Charlie Hebdo because of the caricatures of the prophet, and responded naively that he was on the side of the terrorists. Angered, the teacher sent him to the principal, who was in the class next door, and who asked him three times in front of the whole class, ‘Are you Charlie?’”

The child’s parents were called in and “played an educational role, explaining to him what terrorism really was and why one should be on the side of the Charlie Hebdo victims,” Guez Guez said.

Principal calls police

Instead of leaving the matter there, on 21 January, the school principal lodged two complaints with police, one against the child for “defending terrorism,” and another against the child’s father for trespassing.

According to the lawyer, the child had been deeply upset and isolated after what happened, so his father accompanied him to the school playground on three occasions after 8 January, before being told he was not allowed to do so.

Fabienne Lewandowski, a spokesperson for the Alpes-Maritimes regional police, confirmed to BFMTV that they received the complaints. Lewandowski revealed that the school principal claimed that the child had said “French people should be killed,” “I am on the side of the terrorists” and “the journalists deserved to die.” The child then allegedly refused to take part in a government-decreed minute of silence.

“During our interview, the child indicated that he had said some of these words, but did not really understand what they meant,” the police spokesperson said. “The purpose of this interview was to understand exactly what had happened, and what could have led him to say this.”

“We can regret that this took the form of an official police interview,” Lewandowski said, “but under the circumstances, we could have gone even further.”

According to the police spokesperson, the father “showed regret for his son’s words.”

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France said that his interview by police “was an additional trauma that illustrates the collective hysteria that has ensued since the beginning of January.”

Prosecutors in Nice have yet to decide how to proceed in the case.

Victim of bullying?

Ahmed has said that he was a victim of bullying by the school principal, according to his lawyer, BFMTV reported. On one occasion, the child was playing in a sandbox. According to the child’s account relayed by the lawyer, the principal told the boy, “stop digging in the sand, you won’t find a machine-gun in there.”

On another occasion, Ahmed, who is diabetic, alleges the principal deprived him of his insulin, saying, “Since you want us all to die, you will taste death.” The principal has denied the accusation.

Guez Guez said that Ahmed’s parents planned to lodge a complaint about the school’s behavior.

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  • George Carty

    Modern Westerners do not fight wars to be admired for their heroism, they fight wars to win by whatever means.

    It wasn’t always that way — the knights of the Middle Ages fought to be admired, but it didn’t stop the French knights of Crécy and Agincourt being mown down by English arrows, and it also lured overconfident Crusaders into Saladin’s trap in Hattin.

    In the early modern era though, the “business” motivation in soldiering gradually usurped the “heroic” motivation (probably due to contact with the Ottomans, who had a true professional army before any of the Christian European powers). The last gasp of “heroic” war in the West was the aerial dogfighting of World War I, but even that ended as soon as aircraft were able to carry enough bombs to substantially affect the battle on land or sea.

  • George Carty

    Megalomania yes, death cult no.

  • George Carty

    You’re falling into the same trap as the neocons with your “successful terrorists must have inside support” claim.

    Anders Breivik was a terrorist with no government sponsors, who still managed to kill a higher percentage of Norwegians than Americans who died in 9/11.

  • Kataro Quasinzki

    If so; would you argue that something similiar is needed to counter Western foreign & economic policy? (IMF, World Bank, WTO, the two Iraq invasions, Ukrainian & Syrian proxy wars, French & British plunder of Africa, NATOing Libya, etc) Because all that is indicative of countries in the grip of a virtual death cult to me

  • George Carty

    WWII-era Japan was a country in the grip of a virtual death cult — even after the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, fanatical army officers attempted to storm the Imperial Palace to prevent the Emperor from surrendering.

    And the “surrender” which they had previously been trying to negotiate involved no Allied occupation of Japan, no war crimes trials except by Japanese courts, and the self-demobilization of Japan’s armies from foreign territory. A Japanese Versailles in other words — not surprising the Allies weren’t buying it given how they’d seen the German Versailles turn out…

  • Kataro Quasinzki

    So reports that Japan was about to surrender anyway; or scientists urging the government to strike an uninhabited area as a warning; but they did it anyway out of racism, to test it on humans and to avenge Pearl Harbor were all untrue? You could be seen as justifying and/or taking lightly the worst two single acts of terrorism in human history

  • George Carty

    The only ways to defeat Japan without using nukes would have been either to invade it or to starve it into submission by naval blockade. Both would have cost far more Japanese lives than were lost from the atomic bombs, and invasion would also have cost hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers’ lives.

    War is hell, not a sport.

  • George Carty

    We hear about all the successful terrorist attacks, but we don’t hear about most of the foiled ones.

  • JAZ Z

    That’s not at all important to me or anyone, we don’t care. We do care about the Double Standards practiced in the name of freedom. About the conspiracies of the west in the name of Islam. The false flag incidents. You’ll see the namesake “Muslim” terrorists are performing as they wish on the heart of western nations and they’re always unable to grab those terrorists before they succeed or at least red handed on the spot. How come it’s possible always the failure, despite of billions of dollars are spent over security of these well developed countries? Isn’t it disgusting? Why don’t you ask your Government.

  • George Carty

    If you really knew your French history, you’d know that 1940 was the exception rather that the rule) and the fact that it came within a generation of France suffering 6 million casualties from Germany’s previous war of aggression goes a long way to explaining it.

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