French teacher to stand trial over charges of making up Islamic State attack

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 25, 2016 1:00 PM

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - A teacher at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Marseille will stand trial in April after investigators concluded that he falsely reported being stabbed by Islamic State supporters, the prosecutors said on Thursday.

Five days after the Nov. 13 attacks in which Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris, Marseille teacher Sylvain Saadoun had said he had been stabbed by three people, one of them wearing an Islamic State T-shirt.

"The latest forensics expertise leads us to conclude ... that the most likely hypothesis is self-mutilation," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The teacher's account of the events "was not corroborated by the first checks carried out by the rescue workers, nor by the forensic experts," the statement said.

In December, another teacher in a district near Paris said he had been assaulted by an Islamic State supporter, causing classes to be canceled and an anti-terrorism investigation. Hours later, authorities said the teacher had "totally invented" the attack.

Charges filed against the teacher were dropped due to procedural errors.

Both cases caused a stir in France as they occurred at a time of high tension after a declaration of a state of emergency in the wake of the Paris carnage.

In a third case last month, a Jewish teacher in Marseille was attacked by a 16-year old machete-wielding man, who was arrested by police. That attack prompted the head of the local Jewish community to urge Jews to avoid wearing the kippa skullcap in public.

(Reporting by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Mark Heinrich)