Charlie Hebdo reprints cartoons of prophet ahead of terror trial
A street painting pays tribute to members of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper who were killed by gunmen in January 2015. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images
The French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is to republish controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to mark the start of a trial of suspected accomplices of terrorist gunmen who attacked its offices in January 2015.
The attack on the publication’s offices by brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi left 12 people dead, including several of France’s most famous cartoonists.
“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” Charlie Hebdo’s director, Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, wrote in an editorial to go with the republication of the cartoons in its latest edition, to be released on Wednesday.
The cover shows cartoons first published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten newspaper in 2005. These were reprinted by Charlie Hebdo in 2006, sparking anger across the Islamic world.
A central cartoon on the cover was drawn by Jean Cabut – known as Cabu – a celebrated cartoonist who was killed in the attack.
“All of that, just for this,” reads the frontpage headline.
The trial of 14 alleged accomplices over the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the killing of a female police officer the following day and an attack at a kosher supermarket two days later, will open on Wednesday.
The defendants, three of whom are being tried in absentia and may have been killed in Syria, face various charges, including supplying weapons and providing logistical support for the attacks. Most of the 11 who will appear in court have said they knew the actions were for a crime but claimed they had no idea they were for mass killings. The trial will last until November.
The Kouachi brothers went on the rampage at the Charlie Hebdo Paris offices on 7 January 2015 killing nine journalists, a maintenance worker and two police officers, one of whom was shot at point-blank range on the street outside.
Two days later, a third Islamist gunman, Amédy Coulibaly, attacked the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in a southern district of Paris, killing four customers and taking several hostages. Coulibaly, who was in contact with the Kouachi brothers made a video pledging allegiance to Islamic State.
All three gunmen were killed in police shootouts on 9 January – the Kouachis at a printworks in northern France where they had taken refuge, and Coulibaly at the Paris supermarket.