French Authorities Arrest 5 People in Connection with Death Threats Against Teenager

Five people were detained by French authorities on suspicion that they sent death threats to French teenager Mila.

Mila, a 17-year-old girl, has received an onslaught of online hate in recent months due to a video that she posted to Instagram in 2020 criticizing the religion of Islam. 

According to Mila’s lawyer, the teenager was at one point receiving 30 hate messages a minute, saying that she was essentially living in a “bunker”.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted on Tuesday that five people were in custody under suspicion of death threats to the minor, adding that “in total, 13 individuals have been arrested as part of this case since February 2020.”

Mila’s story has sparked debate in France over the the extent of freedom of speech in the country, as well as protection of minors from online bullying. 

Online child protection group E-Enfrance noted that Mila’s contact information had been revealed online and that her video had prompted more online responses than a Fifa World Cup event.

French President Emmanuel Macron came to the teenagers defense, stating that “we have the right to blaspheme” under French law. French Equalities Minister Marlène Schiappa also stood behind Mila, saying that this had moved beyond controversy and was now the persecution of a minor.


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