Charlie Hebdo founder blames slain editor for deaths

Henri Roussel said he holds the murders against slain editor Stephane Charbonnier.

A combination of file photos made on January 7, 2015 shows (from L) French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Charb and Tignous. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Henri Roussel, one of the founding members of _ Charlie Hebdo,_ has posthumously placed blame on slain editor Stephane Charbonnier, also known as Charb, for "dragging the team" to their deaths by publishing controversial cartoons.

Roussel was referring to the magazine's 2011 depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

"I really hold it against you," wrote the 80-year-old Roussel, in left-leaning French magazine_ Nouvel Obs_.

He went further to ask, "What made him feel the need to drag the team into overdoing it? He shouldn't have done it, but Charb did it again a year later in September 2012."

Charlie Hebdo's lawyer of the last 22 years, Richard Malka, fired back by saying,"Charb has not yet even been buried and Obs finds nothing better to do than to publish a polemical and venomous piece on him."

Malka continued to say, "The other day, the editor of Nouvel Obs, Matthieu Croissandeau, couldn't shed enough tears to say he would continue the fight. I didn't know he meant it this way. I refuse to allow myself to be invaded by bad thoughts, but my disappointment is immense."

Croissandeau has defended the piece.

"We received this text and after a debate, I decided to publish it in an edition on freedom of expression, it would have seemed to me worrisome to have censored his voice, even if it is discordant. Particularly as this is the voice of one of the pioneers of the gang."

Roussel's comments come in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo's 'survivor's edition' released yesterday, which is already on course to selling five million copies.

The edition features another prominent depiction of the Islamic prophet on its cover.