Suspended sentence for French teacher who invented IS attack
Marseille (AFP) –
A French teacher who pretended to have been the victim of anti-Semitic violence by supporters of the Islamic State group days after November's attacks in Paris received a six-month suspended sentence on Thursday.
The 57-year-old Jewish teacher maintained his version of events throughout the trial in the southern city of Marseille, but the court found he had invented the story.
The unnamed defendant said that, just a few days after the November 13 attacks by Islamic State bombers and gunmen in the French capital that left 130 dead, he was assaulted by three men armed with knives, claiming to be from the same group.
"The truth is he wasn't assaulted in the way he says," said prosecutor Andre Ribes, underlining doubts raised by all the police officers, firefighters, doctors and experts involved in the case.
"I have never seen real injuries from a knife that looked like this," said one local official, adding that he thought marital problems may have been the reason for the defendant's lie.
A teacher of history and geography in a Jewish school, the man received extensive coverage in the media at the time, appearing alongside Jewish community leaders and displaying superficial wounds on his forearm and abdomen.
The incident garnered a lot of interest at a time of heightened tension, particularly for France's Jewish community. President Francois Hollande described it as "terrible".
But he was not the only teacher to have invented an incident in the wake of the Paris attacks.
In December, a 45-year-old nursery school teacher pretended to have been assaulted by a man shouting about Islamic State in his Paris classroom. He was later taken for psychiatric tests.
However, there are no doubts over an attack on another teacher in Marseille in January, who was set upon by a self-radicalised teenager who was arrested and charged.
© 2016 AFP