Richard Malka: “We cannot renounce free criticism of religions”

He is a lawyer who has lived under police protection for years. And who has never given in to the threat, nor given up defending his convictions with his face uncovered. He is also a lawyer who loved like brothers all those, journalists or cartoonists, who, on January 7, 2015, fell under the bullets of the Kalashnikovs of the Kouachi brothers in the newsroom of Charlie hebdo.

So inevitably, the emotion is palpable when, Friday, December 4, Me Richard Malka stands up in front of the microphone. ” The passing of time, the setbacks, the referrals from the hearing… All this cannot change the depth of our sorrow. », Launches, in the preamble, the historical lawyer of the satirical weekly.

“Laughter, the last bulwark of these men against fanaticism

This is the last plea of ​​the civil party lawyers at the trial of the January 2015 attacks. And it is therefore to Me Malka that falls the responsibility of bringing the final word of the victims at the hearing. Just before him, Me Nathalie Senyk told the great figures of this newspaper like no other. And the last moments of life, in the editorial staff, that sunny January morning, just before the chaos of guns and blood.

The atmosphere this morning is joyful, said the lawyer. We kiss, we celebrate the happy new year. And then very quickly, as always with Charlie, we argue. This time it’s on the last Houellebecq and the young people who go to jihad. And then, as always, it all ends in laughter. Laughter, the last bulwark of these men against fanaticism.

“Accept that there are two trials in one”

What meaning should be given to this trial? Should the special assize court in Paris stick to the sole judgment of the facts alleged against the accused? Or should it also take into account the context in which these attacks took place and what could have caused them? For Me Malka, the answer is obvious.

We must accept that there are two trials in one: that of the accused and that of the principles that we then wanted to kill and bury (…) And nothing prevents an assize court from taking into account the symbolic dimension of this trial », Says the lawyer.

“These terrorists tell us that our courts of assizes, they do not care”

Then Me Malka talks about the chopper attack (two wounded) perpetrated at the end of September in front of the former premises of Charlie Hebdo. It also evokes the death of Samuel Paty and the three victims of the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice. “These terrorists tell us that our courts of assizes, our judges, our laws, they do not care. They tell you that with just a knife or a chopper, they will bend 67 million French people to change their way of life. “

And the lawyer speaks, faster and faster, almost without looking at the notes placed in front of him. With sharp arrows against all those who believe that these drawings must be done ” that add fuel to the fire “. Which for Me Malka amounts to the wrong target.

Anti-Semitism at the heart of the pleadings

These are just a pretext, the cartoons

These are just a pretext, the cartoons “, He says, referring to the terrible attack perpetrated on November 10 in northern Mozambique, where 50 villagers were killed by jihadists who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. ” These men were not caricaturing the Prophet, nor reading Charlie Hebdo, said Me Malka. So we can well give up whatever you want. They will keep killing us until they turn us into a goldfish circling in a bowl. They will keep killing us because they hate our freedoms.

For Me Malka, this is also the stake of this trial. In this forum to tell the whole world that France cannot give up ” this right to blasphemy », Nor to that of laughing or slaying all religions, without exception.

We cannot renounce free criticism of religions. It would be to renounce our history, the encyclopedists, the French Revolution, the IIIe Republic… (…) It is not a question of criticizing men because of their religion. There it would be racism or anti-Semitism, he says. But continuing to criticize opinions and beliefs is essential. Otherwise, we sink into obscurantism.

An attack on Pope Francis

And arrows continue to rain against all those who at one point or another have accused Charlie of racism or Islamophobia. Me Malka quotes some rappers, then Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He also expresses his anger at the remarks made by the Pope in January 2015, just a week after the Charlie Hebdo attack.

If a great friend talks badly about my mom, they can expect a punch, and that’s okay. We can’t provoke, we can’t insult other people’s faith, we can’t mock it “, Then estimated François, while specifying that freedom of expression is a” fundamental right ” and ” kill in the name of god ” is a ” aberration “.

The last words of the lawyer are for those who died that morning, in the writing of this newspaper which he has defended for more than 25 years. He has a word of affection for everyone, he expresses his admiration for their talent. And just before he sits down, he addresses the parents of Charb, one of Charlie’s figureheads. ” I would like to tell them that their son was magical and that he gave us courage, every day. And when we are fed up, when we want to give up the fight, it’s Charb that we think of. Charlie will live!


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