French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will republish controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad ahead of a trial into the deadly attack on its offices by Islamist terrorists.
The move by the Paris-based outlet was announced on Tuesday, a day before 13 men and one woman accused of supplying the attackers with weapons go on trial for charges of terrorism.
Among the cartoons, most of which were first published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and then by Charlie Hebdo a year later, is one of Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse protruding.
“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” editor Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau wrote in a piece to accompany the front cover that will be published in print on Wednesday.
Twelve people, including some of Charlie Hebdo's best-known cartoonists, were killed when Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the magazine's Paris offices on January 7, 2015 and sprayed the building with automatic gunfire.
The Kouachi brothers and a third Islamist gunman, who killed five people in the 48 hours that followed the Charlie Hebdo massacre, were shot dead by police in different stand-offs.
Since the attacks the magazine has has had its editorial leadership under police protection.
The decision to republish the cartoons will be seen by some as a defiant gesture in defense of free expression. But others may see it as a renewed provocation by a magazine that has long courted controversy with its satirical attacks on religion.
After the 2006 publication of the cartoons, jihadists online warned the weekly would pay for its mockery. For Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
“The freedom to caricature and the freedom to dislike them are enshrined and nothing justifies violence,” the French Council of the Muslim Faith wrote on Twitter in response.
Additional reporting by Reuters