Stéphane Charbonnier, the Charlie Hebdo publishing director and cartoonist, was on an al Qaeda “wanted” list and lived under police protection after defending his newspaper against his Prophet Muhammad cartoons that outraged the Muslim world and ultimately lead to the murder of the cartoonist, known as “Charb”.
Richard Malka, Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, said the magazine’s offices had been “under police protection since the Mohammed cartoon affair right up until today.” The lawyer claimed that the threats were constant. “It is frightening,” he said.
The question now is whether free speech in France is imperiled by the atrocity at the magazine’s offices todasy.
In 2013, his name was included in a Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by al Qaida.
The magazine was sued for incitement to racism by two Islamic groups in France, but was cleared by a Paris court and Mr Charbonnier claimed that free speech was alive and well in France.
The Telegraph report that the banned magazine has been the inspiration behind the majority of successful and foiled Islamist terror plots around the world since its first issue in 2010.
MI5 believe it was read by plotters in seven out of ten major attack plots foiled in the UK in that time.
Mr Charbonnier is believed to have been killed alongside 11 of his colleagues when armed gunmen stormed the magazine’s Paris offices.
Richard Malka, Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, said the offices had been “under police protection since the Mohammed cartoon affair right up until today.”
He added: “Charb was under special high-profile figure protection. The threats were constant. It is frightening.”
However, one of Mr Charbonnier’s colleagues suggested he had been relaxed about the threats.
“Charb was under police protection but he moved around without his policemen, which was a sign he wasn’t worried all the time,” the journalist told Le Monde.
In 2007, Charlie Hebdo reprinted 12 controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that were first shown in a Danish newspaper.
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