The Malian national who was hailed as a hero for helping hostages to safety during the kosher supermarket siege in Paris is to be given French citizenship, French media have reported.
An online petition to confer citizenship on Lassana Bathily and award him France’s highest honour, Legion d’honneur, was signed by around 300,000 people.
Mr Bathily has won praise for his efforts to save people who would otherwise have been held captive by the extremist terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who was later shot dead by police.
According to the Independent, while announcing the award for Lassana Bathily on Thursday, France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he would personally preside over the ceremony on Tuesday 20 January.
Monsieur Bathily is a 24-year-old Muslim who was also able to escape the supermarket siege through a fire escape after he had shepherded the customers to safety, and relayed information on what was happening inside to police officers.
Speaking after he escaped the supermarket, he told BFM TV: “There were several people who came to me [when the shooting started]. When they ran down, I opened the door (from the freezer).
“I turned off the light, I turned off the freezer,” he said. “When I turned off the cold, I put them (hostages) in, I closed the door, I told them to stay calm.”