PARIS — The French woman, 16, was sharing extremely private particulars about her life in a livestream on Instagram, together with her attraction to ladies. Simply not Black or Arab ladies, she mentioned.

When insults and demise threats began pouring in to her Instagram account in response to her feedback in January 2020, some from viewers saying she was an affront to Islam, {the teenager}, Mila, dug in, rapidly posting one other video.

“I hate faith,” she declared. “The Quran is a faith of hatred.” She additionally used profanity to explain Islam and the crudest of images in referring to God.

The following onslaught of threats after the video went viral has landed 13 individuals in court docket on fees of on-line harassment.

The case has put a highlight on the roiling French debate over freedom of expression and blasphemy, particularly when it touches on Islam. It’s also a landmark check for current laws that broadens France’s definition of cyberharassment with reference to assaults on the web, the place vitriol is plentiful, modulated debate much less so.

“We’re setting the principles of what’s acceptable and what’s unacceptable,” Michaël Humbert, the presiding choose, mentioned on the trial.

Some appeared to historical past to seize the brutality of what Mila skilled on-line. Mila’s lawyer mentioned she had been subjected to a digital stoning. The prosecutor within the case spoke of a “lynching 2.0.”

Greater than a 12 months after Mila — The New York Instances is withholding her final identify as a result of she has been the topic of harassment — posted her movies, her life stays in a tumult. She lives below police safety and she or he not attends faculty in particular person.

The 13 defendants, some youngsters themselves, are on trial in Paris, most accused of creating demise threats. They face the potential of jail. The decision is predicted Wednesday.

A lot of the defendants have expressed regrets in regards to the tone of their on-line feedback — however the case has taken on a lifetime of its personal.

It has laid naked the deep polarization in French society over free speech in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper that revealed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and the decapitation final 12 months of a teacher who confirmed comparable cartoons throughout a category dialogue on freedom of expression.

Among the defendants mentioned that they had no intention of harassing or threatening Mila. They had been merely joking, venting or attempting to draw followers, they mentioned.

However most of the feedback had been vitriolic within the excessive. The trial solely considerations messages despatched in November, after Mila posted one other video that described her continuous on-line harassment — and repeated a few of her personal crude imagery, which set off a flood of recent digital assaults.

When the presiding choose learn a few of them out loud at trial, they elicited gasps.

One, from an 18-year-old feminine psychology pupil named N’Aissita, mentioned: “It could be an actual pleasure to lacerate your physique with my nicest knife and depart it to rot within the woods.” One other, from a 19-year-old aspiring customs officer named Adam, mentioned: “Somebody goes to come back to your private home, somebody goes to tie you up and torture you.”

(A court docket official refused to totally establish the defendants to The Instances; it’s common in France, particularly in circumstances involving the younger, to not publish the names of defendants if they aren’t public figures.)

Mila has mentioned repeatedly that she doesn’t need to be co-opted by politicians of any ideology. However many conservatives have championed her trigger, and she or he says she feels deserted by feminist and L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy teams, accusing them of being afraid to defend her proper to criticize religions for concern of offending Muslims.

“I’m deserted by a fragile and cowardly nation,” she mentioned.

For Mila’s defenders, the virulence directed towards her reveals that France’s model of secularism and freedom of expression are below assault.

“We have now gone mad,” President Emmanuel Macron mentioned in an interview final 12 months when requested about Mila. In France, he mentioned, any faith will be criticized, “and we should not tolerate any violence due to that criticism.”

Mr. Macron himself has been on the heart of the fraught tug of warfare over French values and its therapy of its Muslim residents. He has vowed to defeat what he has referred to as Islamist “separatism” or the undermining of France’s values of secularism and freedom of expression. A number of terrorist attacks over the previous 12 months have hardened sentiment in French society over extremists in its midst, elevating fears among some French Muslims of being unfairly stigmatized.

In a tv interview a number of weeks after her first video, Mila mentioned that she had been focusing on Islam as a faith, not those that apply it in peace, and she or he apologized if she had damage these individuals along with her feedback.

That is a crucial distinction in France, which criminalizes some hate speech however doesn’t outlaw blasphemy. The regulation differentiates between mocking a faith and denigrating its believers. On that foundation, prosecutors rapidly dropped an investigation that they had opened towards Mila on suspicion of incitement of racial hatred.

As a substitute, the police opened an investigation into those that went after her on-line, primarily based on the cyberharassment law handed in 2018. The regulation allows prosecutors to hunt convictions towards harassers who knew they had been contributing to a broader wave of abuse, even when they didn’t coordinate with one another and even when they posted or despatched just one remark.

In a not too long ago revealed e-book, Mila walked again a few of her regrets, saying that on the time of the tv interview she was determined to calm the scenario down however that she shouldn’t need to apologize for legally utilizing her free speech.

The defendants have been charged with on-line harassment, which carries a sentence of as much as two years in jail and a positive of 30,000 euros, or almost $36,000. These charged with making demise threats resist three years in jail and a €45,000 positive.

The protection legal professionals requested why these 13 had been chosen, when 1000’s of individuals attacked Mila on-line.

The prosecutor has mentioned he expects to carry others to account, as nicely.

“Social media just isn’t a lawless Wild West,” mentioned the prosecutor, Grégory Weill, who heads a brand new workplace dealing with on-line hate speech and harassment round France.

Nonetheless, Mr. Weill requested solely quick suspended jail sentences for 12 of the accused, all of whom had been first offenders. (He beneficial fees towards the thirteenth be dropped.) The court docket might be extra extreme in any sentences it imposes.

Over two lengthy days final month, the case towards the 13 unfolded earlier than a packed courtroom.

Mila’s mom mentioned her daughter had skilled an infinite “tsunami” of messages, inflicting nightmares, melancholy and trauma. Mila pushed again forcefully towards critics, but in addition teared up.

“I really feel like I always have traces of knives in my again,” she testified.

She rejected ideas that she ought to stop social media, the place she nonetheless clashes with critics but in addition posts typical teenager content material, like movies of herself lip-syncing songs.

“I see this like a girl who was raped on the street and who’s instructed to not exit anymore in order that she isn’t raped once more,” Mila mentioned. She added that she disliked all religions, not simply Islam.

Richard Malka, Mila’s lawyer, castigated the defendants as being fast to really feel offended however gradual to comprehend the results of their actions.

“You made her radioactive, all of you,” Mr. Malka mentioned. “You sentenced her to solitude.”

Though some defendants mentioned they had been Muslim, various them declared they had been atheists. Some mentioned Mila’s feedback angered them as a result of that they had Muslim pals or discovered her movies disrespectful, main them to behave with out pondering.

“I reacted within the warmth of the second,” Axel, a 20-year-old from southwestern France, instructed the court docket. “I don’t take note of faith, however all religions needs to be equal and revered.”

One of many accused, Corentin, a 23-year-old faculty monitor, mentioned he couldn’t fathom non secular intolerance. In his Twitter publish, which included a want that Mila would die, Corentin mentioned he ran no threat of prosecution as a result of he’s “white and a nonbeliever.”

And when Mila’s lawyer argued that religions are usually not owed any respect and that respecting non secular beliefs “results in horrors,” N’Aissita, the psychology pupil who wrote about knifing Mila, demurred.

“If non secular beliefs had been revered, we wouldn’t be right here,” she retorted.