French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will republish controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed this week as people allegedly involved in the deadly attack on its newsroom go on trial in Paris.
The next edition of Charlie Hebdo, which will be published as the trial begins on Wednesday, carries not only the cartoons but a tribute to the magazine’s employees who were killed in the attack on January 7, 2015.
In a statement on Tuesday, the magazine linked the publication of the cartoons to the trial, describing them as “evidence.” The cartoons, it said, are “part of History, and one cannot rewrite History, neither can it be erased.”
The Paris-based weekly publication, which was founded in 1970, is famous for its provocative cartoons and daring takedowns of politicians, public figures and religious symbols of all faiths.
The satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were originally published by a Danish newspaper in 2005, and then republished by Charlie Hebdo in 2006. Depictions of Islam’s prophet are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday defended the decision to republish the controversial cartoons.
“In France, there’s also a freedom to blaspheme that is linked to the freedom of conscience,” Macron said at a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon. “So, from where I stand, I’m there to protect all those freedoms. So I don’t have to comment on a journalist’s choice. I just have to say that, in France, one can criticize people who are governing and one can blaspheme.”
A total of 17 people were killed in the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris. The perpetrators — brothers Said and Chérif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly — were killed by police.
On Wednesday, 14 people will go on trial in Paris’ Criminal Court over their alleged involvement in the attacks.
Charlie Hebdo has a relatively small circulation in France. But in the wake of the attack, it printed 7 million copies of a “survivors’ issue” that were snapped up by readers in a show of solidarity with the publication.
— Eva Tapiero contributed to this article.