Among the 12 people killed by masked gunmen in the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was its editorial director, Stéphane Charbonnier, who went by the pen name Charb.
Charbonnier, who took the reins of the magazine in 2009, spoke to Al Jazeera in 2012, shortly after the magazine published a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
The editor had already created controversy with previous illustrations of Muhammad. A year before the Al Jazeera interview, the magazine's offices were firebombed after it printed a spoof issue for which Muhammad was supposedly its guest editor. On its cover was a crude caricature of the prophet.
Charbonnier defended his decision to repeatedly publish cartoons of Muhammad, lashing out at French politicians for not sufficiently backing up the magazine. Publishing the cartoons, he said, was squarely within his rights.
"What surprises me is the reaction of French authorities. They say we have been irresponsible. They have all more or less condemned Charlie Hebdo’s actions," he told Al Jazeera.
"We are a country of a rule of law. We respect French law. Our only limit is French law. It is that what we have to obey. We haven't infringed French law. We have the right to use our freedom as we understand it."
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