Three teenagers have been charged in France after a high-school girl received death threats for expletive-laden social media remarks about Islam, according to a prosecutor.
The case of 16-year-old Mila – who made her remarks about Islam on an Instagram post that went viral – revived debate in France about freedom of speech, and highlighted deep societal divisions on the topic.
Mila’s family was placed under police protection amid the fallout, and she had to change schools.
On Wednesday, Vienne Prosecutor Audrey Quey said three teens – one aged 16 and two aged 17 – have been charged in the case.
Vienne is a city in the Isere department in southeast France where Mila is from.
The 17-year-olds admitted to investigators earlier this month that they had collected Mila’s private online data and passed it on to the younger boy.
The two face charges of theft and possession of stolen data and were placed under judicial supervision pending the outcome of the investigation, Quey said in a statement.
One of them was also from Isere, the other from the neighbouring Rhone department.
The 16-year-old, Quey said, was questioned in February and admitted to having distributed Mila’s personal online data.
Charges against the boy, who comes from Besancon north of Isere, include possession of stolen goods, electronic harassment, and distributing a third party’s personal data. He, too, was placed under supervision.
A fourth person, alleged to have been behind death threats to Mila, was arrested in May, the prosecutor said.
“Investigations are continuing with a view to identifying others behind the threats,” said Quey.
In February, French President Emmanuel Macron came out in defence of Mila, saying the right to blaspheme was enshrined in the constitution and that she needed to be protected.
An investigation into possible charges of provoking racial hatred against Mila was abandoned in January.
The controversy came just over five years after gunmen shot dead a group of French cartoonists from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had poked fun at the Prophet Mohammed.