French prosecutors want four suspect held over death of 15-year-old boy

A French prosecutor on Sunday sought a remand in custody for four people held over the killing of a 15-year-old boy that has heightened concern about violence in schools.

Five suspects appeared before an investigating judge Sunday to decide whether they should be charged and possibly detained over the death of 15-year-old Shemseddine.

He was beaten by a group, including two brothers, in a dispute linked to their younger sister on “subjects relating to sexuality,” prosecutor Gregoire Dulin said in a statement.

“Fearing for her reputation and that of their family, they had ordered several boys to no longer have contact with her. They (the brothers) then learned that the victim boasted of being able to speak freely with their sister,” he said.

Three people wearing balaclavas attacked Shemseddine as he left school Thursday in Viry-Chatillon, a town around 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Paris, police said.

He died of his wounds on Friday. Police then detained five suspects, including three 17-year-olds, a 15-year-old and a 20-year-old.

The 15-year-old is the only suspect the prosecutor does not want held in custody.

It was the second assault last week, after a 13-year-old girl was left temporarily comatose after being attacked outside her school in the southern city of Montpellier on Tuesday.

Both incidents come at a time of heightened tensions around French schools, after threats of attacks were made against dozens of educational establishments.

“We have a form of uninhibited violence among our teenagers and sometimes among increasingly younger ones,” President Emmanuel Macron said Friday before the teenager died.

“Schools need to be shielded from this,” he said, adding they should “remain a sanctuary for our children, for their families, for our teachers.”

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