UN Expert Calls For Immediate, Unconditional Release Of Ex-Mali Officials

A UN human rights expert on Wednesday called on Mali’s coup leaders to release former government officials detained for more than a month.

The military junta had in a coup on August 18 ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta from power. Keita and some top politicians were arrested and detained. However, while Keita was released and allowed to travel out of the country for treatment, others are still languishing in detention.

Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, called for their immediate and unconditional release.

“There is no legal basis for detention of the former prime minister, the former president of the National Assembly, and other former Malian officials taken into custody in the coup d’état of 18 August,” he said.

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“I call on the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to comply with Mali’s international human rights obligations,” he said. “Everyone arrested during the coup must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Of the 18 people arrested by the coup leaders on 18 August, at least 13 are still being illegally detained at the Kati military camp in Bamako, despite calls for their release from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, UN Secretary General, António Guterres, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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“I am extremely concerned by the fact that those arrested by the coup leaders have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for more than a month,” said Tine. “This detention contravenes international and regional human rights instruments to which Mali is a party.”

Under international law, no one should be deprived of liberty except in accordance with the law. Anyone arrested must be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for their arrest and promptly informed of any charges against them.

“I urge the CNSP to scrupulously respect their rights, including the right to communicate with their families and lawyers and to receive visits, in particular from family members,” Tine said. “But above all, I urge the CNSP to release them immediately.”

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