Charlie Hebdo editor released
The state prosecutor overseeing case against Charlie Hebdo ordered that the editor Philippe Val be released without charge, and recommended that the case be dismissed. The official judgement will be made on March 15.
The weekly satirical paper had procession of presidential candidates and celebrities speaking in its defence. One witness, a Muslim refugee from Algiers, displayed a Saudi Arabian flag to illustrate that the “turbombe” cartoon was not the first to associate Islam with weaponry – the flag carries the Koranic declaration of faith underscored with a sabre.
The prosecutor, Anne de Fontette, strongly defended the magazine’s right to free speech. She said that the cartoons did not attack Islam, but rather the fundamentalists who acted in Islam’s name. “Not all Muslims are fundamentalists”, she said.
She even praised Charlie Hebdo:
For a number of our citizens it is a lively reflection of the principle of press freedom in a democratic society which can never be a theocracy.
The plaintiffs, the Grande Mosque de Paris and the Union of French Islamic Organisations, complained that the trial had become “political”. In reality, they must be sorely disappointed that they wasted so much time and money on a prosecution which stands virtually no chance of succeeding.
It seems that the entire French establishment, politicians, press, and judiciary, is standing up for Charlie Hebdo on this one. We are looking forward to a decisive and unambiguous rejection of this silly case on March 15.
UPDATE: The Guardian reveals, without comment, that the lawyer for the Muslim organisations is called Christophe Bigot.