Charlie Hebdo Reprints Controversial Prophet Muhammad Cartoons Before Terror Trial

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Carsten Koall
Carsten Koall

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will mark the opening of a terror trial over a deadly 2015 attack on their offices by reprinting the disparaging Prophet Muhammad cartoons that sparked the rampage.

Twelve people were killed on Jan. 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherie Kouachi stormed Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters. Some of France’s most well known cartoonists were killed in the attack, which set off weeks of unrest and led to the deaths of 17 people in the ensuing days. Fourteen people will go on trial accused of supporting the terror attacks.

The decision to republish the cartoons, which depict Prophet Muhammad in ways that many Muslims find offensive, was announced Tuesday with an editorial that explained the decision. “We will never lie down,” Charlie Hebdo director Laurent Sourisseau wrote. “We will never give up.”

A day after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, Amedy Coulibaly, an associate of Cherif Kouachi, killed a 27-year-old female police officer at a routine traffic stop outside Paris.

On Jan. 9, Coulibaly killed four Jewish men at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris and took several others hostage. Coulibaly, who was killed when police raided the supermarket, left a video message connecting the events together as acts of revenge in the name of the Islamic State terror group.

The Kouachi brothers, meanwhile, were holed up at a printing press where they eventually committed suicide.

The 14 people whose trial starts Wednesday are accused of providing logistical support to the three dead killers. Three of the suspects, including Hayat Boumedienne, who was Coulibaly’s partner, are being tried in absentia.

More than 140 witnesses will be heard in the trial, which is expected to spark new tensions in France.

“If [the attackers] committed this butchery, it is because they believed in an ideology and this ideology will have to be put on trial,” Zineb el Rhazoui, a Charlie Hebdo staffer at the time of the killings told Reuters. “That’s what I’m waiting for.”

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