Charlie Hebdo has republished cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad on the eve of a criminal trial into the deadly al-Qaeda attack on its Paris offices.
The French satirical magazine carried the controversial cartoons on the cover of today’s issue, with the headline “All that for that”.
Director Laurent Sourisseau wrote in an editorial: “We will never lie down. We will never give up.”
Two brothers armed with Kalashnikovs attacked the magazine’s Paris headquarters in January 2015, shouting “the prophet is avenged” as they murdered 12.
A police officer and four Jewish shoppers were killed over the following two days.
Those responsible said Charlie Hebdo had deliberately used blasphemy to stir up hatred against Muslims around the world by previously publishing the satirical cartoons and articles about Prophet Muhammad.
The attackers were also shot dead by police, but this week 14 people will go on trial in the French capital in connection with the atrocities.
Charlie Hebdo has responded in its latest issue by republishing drawings that show Muhammad carrying a bomb, and also armed with a knife and flanked by two women dressed in black
The deeply incendiary images originally led to riots across the Muslim world when they were first published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005.
Charlie Hebdo then published them in full in 2006, leading its writers and cartoonists to receive regular death threats.
This led up to the atrocities of 2015, when two Paris-born brothers stormed into their Paris offices with Kalashnikovs, and opened fire.
Despite this, Charlie Hebdo today carries the cartoons on its front page, under the headline “All that for that”.
The landmark trial opening on Wednesday will see the 14 defendants facing a variety of charges including obtaining weapons and providing logistical support to the killers.
Three of the accused will be tried in absentia, as it is believed they went to fight for Islamic State in Syria.
It was on January 7, 2015 that brothers Saad and Cherif Kouachi murdered 12 people in and around the Paris offices of the magazine.
Police officer Ahmed Merabet was killed as he tried to stop the assailants after the attack and four people were wounded.
The Kouachi brothers died during a shootout with police at a printing office northwest of Paris two days later.
Marie-Laure Barre and Nathalie Senyk, barristers representing the Charlie Hebdo victims, said in a statement: “This trial is an important moment for them.
“They are waiting for justice to be done to find out who did what, knowing that those who pulled the trigger are no longer there.”
On January 8, 2015, Amedy Coulibaly shot dead a police officer, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, in the Paris suburb of Montrouge.
The next day day, he took hostages at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Vincennes, executing store employee Yohan Cohen and customers Philippe Braham, François-Michel Saada and Yoav Hattab before being killed in a police raid.
Patrick Klugman, lawyer for the victims at the Hyper Cacher, said: “This trial matters even though Amedy Coulibaly is dead.
“Without those defendants in the box, Coulibaly would never have been able to act.”
The trial was scheduled to begin in April but was postponed because of the Covid-19 epidemic.
It is expected to last until November 10.