PARIS, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- French police in Nice detained and questioned an 8-year-old boy after he allegedly made sympathetic statements about the gunmen who carried out deadly attacks against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this month.
"The boy told his schoolteacher: We must kill the French. I am with the terrorists. Muslims have done well. The journalists deserved to die," said Fabienne Lewandowski, the deputy director of security in the Alpes-Maritimes department.
Both the boy, who has not been identified because of his age, and his father were called to the police station for questioning on Wednesday after the school principal filed a complaint.
"The fight against terrorism should not give way to collective hysteria," warned the French National Observatory Against Islamaphobia, which said the boy who was questioned is Muslim.
Some free speech advocates have criticized France for its criminal action against those who justify terrorism.
"Freedom has limits," the French government wrote in a post titled "Everything you need to know about freedom of expression in France," which notes that justification of terrorism is "punishable by law."
"Public justification of terrorism which consists in presenting or commenting on acts of terrorism while justifying them, idealizing their goals or their methods, or passing a favorable moral judgement. Since 2014 it is also punishable by 7 years of incarceration when it occurs online."
It is unlikely the 8-year-old will face formal charges since French law prohibits those under 13 from being criminally charged.