Families shocked as French police arrest children aged 10 for 'glorifying terrorism'

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On November 2nd 2020 schools around France held a minute's silence in a national tribute to teacher Samuel Paty who was decapitated near his school two weeks earlier. The teacher had shown pupils caricatures of Muhammed as part of a lesson on freedom of speech. Three days after that national tribute four pupils in Albertville near the French Alps were arrested by police for “apologia” for or glorification of terrorism and for making death threats. Mediapart's Francois Bonnet spoke to three of the families who tell a very different story from the official accounts. Their stories suggest that the authorities' actions spiralled out of control, amid some confused statements from the local prosecutor.

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Zulbye Yildirim is an energetic woman who greeted Mediapart alongside her husband and children in the immaculate living room at their home in Albertville in the French Alps. Her words tumble out in perfect, fluent French. However, she did learn a new word on Thursday November 5th when a number of police officers entered the family's flat to arrest her ten-year-old daughter Emira.