‘I thought I was going to be executed here’: cartoonist Coco testifies at Charlie Hebdo trial
Tuesday, 08 September 2020
Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Corinne Rey, also known as Coco, thought she would die executed after having been pointed at by the Kouachi brothers in the January 2015 attack on the satirical newspaper, she testified on Tuesday.
On January 7, 2015, the day of the attack, she had left the weekly editorial conference to go downstairs “to smoke a cigarette” when the “two terrorists (…) emerged from the corridor calling ‘Coco, Coco’,” she told the special assize court in Paris.
The hearings of the survivors of this attack, the high point of this historic trial, are due to continue in the afternoon and on Wednesday.
Shocked by Chérif and Said Kouachi, “two strong men, armed to the teeth” who told her “‘We want Charlie Hebdo, we want Charb’,” she led them to the entrance of the editorial office, first mistaking the floor.
“I thought I was going to be executed here,” Coco testified.
“I was devastated, I had a dazzling thought for my little girl, it was as if I was dispossessed of myself, I couldn’t get anywhere. I moved towards the code and typed it in,” continued the cartoonist, who still works at Charlie Hebdo.
“I felt the terrorists were getting close to their goal, I felt an excitement next to me. I was pushed inside the newsroom, I advanced like an automaton,” she continued.
She then took refuge under a desk, from where she “heard what was happening, heard the shots.”
“After the shooting, there was a silence, a deadly silence,” said Rey.
“I felt helpless. It’s helplessness that is the hardest thing to bear in what happened. And I felt guilty,” she said, but added that “the only culprits are the Islamist terrorists. The Kouachi brothers and those who helped them.”
The attack on Charlie Hebdo’s premises claimed 10 victims, including the emblematic cartoonists Charb, Cabu and Wolinski.
Fourteen people are being prosecuted before the assize court for their logistical support to the perpetrators of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo, a policewoman from Montrouge and the Hyper Cacher shop. Three of them are being tried in absentia.
The attacks, which marked the beginning of a bloody series of jihadist attacks, left 17 people dead and sowed fear in France and around the world.