This morning’s deadly attack by gunmen on the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo is a chilling assault on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.
The attack, allegedly carried out by masked gunmen who fled the scene after engaging in a gunfight with police, reportedly left 12 people dead and several more wounded at the newspaper’s office.
“This is a dark day for freedom of expression and a vibrant press culture. But above all, it is an appalling human tragedy,” said Stephan Oberreit, Director of Amnesty International France.
“It is an atrocity that sought to kill journalists, suppress freedom of expression and sow fear. It must be utterly condemned and the French authorities must ensure all those responsible are brought to justice in a fair trial. Journalists under threat must be protected and allowed to carry out their work without fear of deadly violence.”
Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical newspaper based in Paris, has faced controversy in the past for its publication of cartoons deemed to be insulting to Islam.
Amnesty International notes that freedom of expression extends to ideas of all kinds, including those that may be considered insulting or offensive.
In the wake of today’s attack, the French government is convening a security meeting and has raised the country’s terror alert to the highest level.
Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation and the government response.