French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to pass judgment on the decision by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to re-publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that unleashed a wave of indignation in the Muslim world when they were originally printed, reported Reuters.
“It’s never the place of a president of the Republic to pass judgment on the editorial choice of a journalist or newsroom, never. Because we have freedom of the press,” said Macron on Tuesday during a visit to Lebanon.
However, the President added that French citizens should show civility and respect for each other, and avoid a “dialogue of hate”.
Numéro spécial : Tout ça pour ça.— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) September 1, 2020
👉 Un florilège des charognards du 7 janvier 2015
👉 Procès : la parole aux familles
👉 Sondage exclusif @IfopOpinion : la liberté d'expression c'est important, mais...
Disponible dès demain ! pic.twitter.com/NyiTmva6Kr
The comments were made as Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly, said on Twitter that it would reprint 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad on the eve of a trial in Paris of alleged accomplices in a 2015 attack on the magazine’s offices by Islamist militant gunmen.
12 people were killed in the bloodshed.
"We will never lie down. We will never give up," editor Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau wrote in a piece to accompany the front cover.
La couverture de ce numéro appelle quelques explications. Vous les trouverez ici ⤵https://t.co/icMgWRmxXn— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) September 1, 2020
Among the cartoons, most of which were first published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and then by Charlie Hebdo the following year, is one that portrays Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse.
The cartoons had triggered a wave of anger in the Muslim world, where any depiction of the Prophet is deemed blasphemous.
Prior to the attack, militants had gone online to warn the magazine of consequences for publishing the cartoons.
Fourteen suspects in the 2015 assaults on Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher go on trial in Paris on Wednesday.
Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi had gone on a gun rampage at the offices of the magazine on 7 January that left 12 people dead in its wake, including a number of celebrated French cartoonists.
A policewoman and four other people were killed during a hostage-taking attack a day later by an associate of the brothers, Amedy Coulibaly, at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket outside Paris.
All of the perpetrators were killed in the aftermath of the assaults.
The court proceedings in Paris, set to continue for about two months, will be questioning the suspects and hearing the testimonies of victims to determine what role the 14 defendants may have played in organising the killing spree.
Three of the suspects - Hayat Boumedienne, the partner of Coulibaly, and two brothers, Mohamed and Mehdi Belhoucine, are being tried in absentia, with reports claiming they died after travelling to Daesh*- controlled parts of northern Syria and Iraq.
The suspects’ deaths have not been confirmed.
Charlie Hebdo was reported to have a place reserved at the trial, according to a Justice Ministry video of the preparations for the proceedings.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia