Nine-year-old boy killed 'for not doing his homework'
A nine-year-old boy has been discovered beaten to death in the city of Mulhouse in France. The child, who has not been named, was reportedly murdered by his family after he refused to do his homework.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the murder: the boy's elder brother, sister, brother's girlfriend, and mother. The former three were all present at the time of the boy's death, while the latter - though aware of what was happening - was away at the time of the incident on a business trip.
According to police reports and local media, the boy died after being brutally beaten with a broom handle during the early hours of Sunday, November 18th.
At first, the parents of the boy offered an innocent account of how he had died, prompting locals of his area to hold a vigil for him and offer their support to the family. When a postmortem was conducted, however, it soon became apparent that the boy's relatives had lied, as his body showed distinct signs of trauma.
According to French sources, bruises were discovered all over the boy's body, particularly on his feet. This led pathologists to conclude that he had died from blunt force trauma - though the beating he received was so severe that he actually suffered a cardiac arrest during the attack.
At this point, it is believed that the boy's brother, a 19-year-old man, was directly responsible for the death, but the other three were arrested because they knew about (and may have even actively encouraged) the attack.
The boy's death has coincided with the proposed introduction of a new law which would ban physical and/or violent discipline against children in their homes.
The law, proposed by MoDem MP Maud Petit, is due to be presented at the end of this month. It says: "Children have the right to an education without violence. Those with parental authority may not use means of humiliation such as physical and verbal violence, corporal punishment or corporal punishment, moral suffering."
It does not propose any legal consequences for parents or guardians who do use violence against their children, but instead aims to raise awareness of the matter and how corporal punishment can negatively affect young people.
A ban has been proposed several times before in the past, but has never made it into law.
"This time, I'm optimistic. Several members of the government have spoken out in favour of this ban," said Petit.
No doubt this most recent incident will come up in conversation surrounding the upcoming bill.
As of yet, nobody has been charged with the murder, but the four suspects remain in custody and are due to appear before the local prosecutor ahead of a judicial investigation.