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Kremlin Condemns Attempts to Justify Chechen Beheading of French Teacher

Abdulakh Anzorov, 18, was shot dead by French police on Oct. 16 after decapitating history teacher Samuel Paty, who had displayed Prophet Muhammad cartoons in a class on freedom of speech. Alexis Sciard / IP3 / Zuma / TASS

The Kremlin has spoken out against attempts to justify the beheading of a French teacher by a Chechen refugee following a Chechen state television segment that cast the killer in a sympathetic light.

Abdulakh Anzorov, 18, was shot dead by French police on Oct. 16 after decapitating history teacher Samuel Paty, who had displayed Prophet Muhammad cartoons in a class on freedom of speech.

The Grozny television channel’s Monday news segment on Anzorov’s funeral in Chechnya called him a “God-fearing youth” who was driven to commit the murder by an "Islamophobic provocation" and “pressure on the feelings of believers.” 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on whether or not the statements made during the segment could be considered a justification of terrorism.

“You know that state channels give different points of view,” Peskov said Tuesday. “This point of view may possibly have nothing in common with that single point of view, which in this case might be true, and that’s the point of view that correlates with the position on the absolute condemnation of this murder and unacceptability of such actions.”

When asked about reports of Anzorov’s funeral on Monday, Peskov said he couldn’t confirm whether or not Anzorov was buried on Chechen soil after being repatriated from France.

The only thing that can be said with certainty is that this is undoubtedly a terrorist act that is not subject to anything but deep condemnation and rejection," Peskov told journalists.

"The topic here is absolutely unambiguous: We are talking about a murderer, we are talking about a terrorist. And his actions are absolutely condemned and are unacceptable," he said.

France has charged three other students with complicity in a terrorist murder following Paty’s death.

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