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Mali coup leaders must immediately release detained former officials, says UN expert

GENEVA (23 September 2020) – A UN human rights expert today called on Mali’s coup leaders to release former government officials detained for more than a month.

“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,” said Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali.

“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).

“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.”

ENDS

The Expert: Mr. Alioune Tine (Senegal) took office as independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali on 1 May 2018. The mandate of independent expert was renewed by the Human Rights Council on 22 June 2020 for a period of one year to assist the Government of Mali in its actions to promote and protect human rights and in the implementation of the recommendations made in Council resolutions. Mr. Tine was a founding member and President of the African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) and Coordinator of the Forum of African NGOs at the World Conference against Racism in 2000. Between 2014 and 2018 Mr. Tine was Amnesty International's Regional Director for West and Central Africa. He has published many articles and studies on literature and human rights.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN human rights country page - Mali
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