A senior female manager at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has fled her home in the wake of “precise and detailed threats”, according to French media.
Marika Bret, who is head of the publication’s human resources department, reportedly heard about the threats from guards who have protected her for almost five years－ever since a terror attack perpetrated by Islamist extremist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi on Jan 7,2015, that claimed the lives of 12 people.
Most were members of staff at the Paris-based magazine.
The attack, which triggered a flurry of jihadist terror assaults across France, was launched in the wake of the magazine publishing 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that had initially been printed by a Danish newspaper.
The weekly news magazine Le Point reported Bret’s guards heard about the new threat on Sept 14, after the magazine republished the cartoons for the first time since 2015, and as 14 people went on trial, accused of assisting the brothers and of aiding an assault on a Jewish supermarket.
Bret’s told Le Point there had been “an unreal level of hatred around Charlie Hebdo” since it republished the cartoons.
“Since the start of the trial and with the republication of the cartoons, we have received all kinds of horrors, including threats from al-Qaida and calls to finish the work of the (2015 gunmen),” she said.
The BBC said Bret packed up and left her home as soon as she was told about the latest threat.
“Ten minutes to leave behind a part of my life; that’s a bit short, that’s very brutal,” she said. “I won’t be coming home.”
Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper noted that police officers who have guarded Bret since 2015 felt the threats were “sufficiently concrete to be taken seriously”.
Earlier this month, the terror group al-Qaida threatened Charlie Hebdo staff with a repeat of the 2015 massacre.
Following reports about the latest threats, news agency Agence France-Presse noted on Wednesday that more than 100 French news outlets had called on the French public to show their support for Charlie Hebdo employees, and for freedom of expression.
The news agency said that, while the recent edition of the magazine that contained the reprinted cartoons was popular enough to sell out in France, it had also stirred up condemnation and hatred in some people.
The open letter from the news outlets said: “The enemies of freedom must understand that we are all, together, their steadfast opponents, regardless of our differences of opinion or beliefs.”
And Charlie Hebdo published an open letter of its own on the front page of its latest edition, denouncing “new totalitarian ideologies, sometimes claiming to be inspired by religious texts”.