Scotland politics

Charlie Hebdo: Holyrood marks terror attack anniversary

Charlie Hebdo front page Image copyright EPA
Image caption Charlie Hebdo's anniversary issue shows the bearded figure of God with a Kalashnikov slung across his back and his robes splattered with blood. The caption reads: "The killer is still out there".

The Scottish Parliament has marked the anniversary of the terror attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.

SNP MSP Christian Allard - who is a French national - led a debate to commemorate the victims of the Paris attack, which left 12 people dead.

Another five people were also killed by Islamist gunmen over the next two days.

Mr Allard said the right to free speech was essential, and an attack on cartoonists and journalists was "an attack on us all".

He added: "The tragic attack on Charlie Hebdo was not just an attack on one magazine. It was an attack on the principle of free speech.

"Charlie Hebdo has responded to this attack in the best possible way - to keep on doing what they were doing before. To be outrageous, to mock and to challenge us all.

"One year on, let us make sure that we continue to respond to terrorism by valuing and embracing freedom of speech and our right to disagree. Rather than 7 January solely being an anniversary of terrorism we should celebrate it as Cartoonists' Day."

Image caption French-born MSP Christian Allard led a debate in the Scottish Parliament
Image copyright AFP/French Police
Image caption The attack was carried out by brothers Cherif (left) and Said Kouachi

MSPs from across the chamber supporter Mr Allard, with Labour's Elaine Murray saying cartoons had been a medium for political satire in Europe for centuries.

Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor also praised the value of satire, saying: "It takes great bravery to stand up and be counted and tell the truth."

SNP member Chic Brodie repeated the slogan "je suis Charlie" during his speech, while culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said the attack was an attack on the "fundamental human right" of freedom of speech.

She closed the debate by quoting the motto of Paris: "She is shaken by the waves, but does not sink."

Cartoonist Terry Anderson led a discussion on freedom of expression at the parliament's cross-party group on France following the debate in the main Holyrood chamber.

The Charlie Hebdo attack was carried out by brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who forced their way into its offices, shooting dead 11 people and injuring 11 others.

They later shot dead a French National Police officer outside the building.

The gunmen said they belonged to the Yemen branch of the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda, which took responsibility for the attack.

Both brothers died on 9 January 2014 after being shot by police following a siege in Dammartin-en-Goele, about 20 miles north east of Paris.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands of people took part in a solidarity march in Paris on Wednesday
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The slogan Je Suis Charlie was widely used to express support for the victims in the wake of the attack

Related Topics