Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

31 July 2012

Mali: Investigate disappearances, killings and torture of Junta opponents

Mali: Investigate disappearances, killings and torture of Junta opponents
Amnesty International has documented  brutal abuses committed by soldiers loyal to Mali's military Junta against soldiers and police officers involved in an attempted counter-coup.

Amnesty International has documented brutal abuses committed by soldiers loyal to Mali's military Junta against soldiers and police officers involved in an attempted counter-coup.

© ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images


The Malian authorities have a duty to investigate all the cases we have documented. Those responsible for these brutal efforts to avenge the attempted counter-coup must be held accountable for their actions
Source: 
Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher
Date: 
Tue, 31/07/2012

Mali must halt its slide into human rights chaos and open investigations into dozens of cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and torture documented by Amnesty International.

In a report released today following a 10-day mission to Mali in July 2012, Amnesty International details brutal abuses committed by soldiers loyal to the military Junta against soldiers and police officers involved in an attempted counter-coup on 30 April 2012.

In the days that followed the attempted counter-coup dozens of soldiers were arrested and taken to Kati military camp, 20 kilometres north of Bamako, the capital. They were held for more than 40 days in appalling conditions and subjected to torture and sexual abuse. Twenty one detainees were abducted from their cell at night and haven't been seen since.
 
“The Malian authorities have a duty to investigate all the cases we have documented. Those responsible for these brutal efforts to avenge the attempted counter-coup must be held accountable for their actions,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.

“These vengeful acts fly in the face of Mali’s international human rights obligations and action must be taken to ensure the military Junta doesn’t continue to operate with impunity.”

Amnesty International’s report details the enforced disappearance of at least 21 named individuals on the night of 2 to 3 May from the cell they were being held in.

One of the inmates of these disappeared people prisoners told Amnesty International:

“Around two in the morning, the door of our cell opened. Our wardens stood at the door and began to read a list. One by one, the soldiers called, went out. We haven’t seen our cellmates since that date.”
 
Amnesty International is also concerned about a number of soldiers being treated for wounds in Gabriel Touré Hospital in Bamako who were abducted by the military junta on 1 May. Despite its requests, Amnesty International has not obtained the list of these soldiers and has not been able to establish their whereabouts.

While held in Kati military camp prisoners described inhumane and degrading conditions including 80 inmates wearing just their underwear crammed into a five metre square cell. The detainees were forced to relieve themselves in a plastic bag and were deprived of food during the first days of their detention. Some detainees were regularly taken from their cell to be beaten and interrogated.

One prisoner described the following torture used to extract a confession from him:

“They asked us to confess that we had wanted to carry out a coup. They made us lie face down, they tied our hands behind our backs and then tied them to our feet. One of them forced a cloth in our mouths using a stick. We couldn’t talk let alone scream. They put out cigarettes on our bodies, one of them put out his cigarette in my ear.”

In some cases sexual abuse was carried out against prisoners in Kati. One police officer said:

“We were four, they asked us to undress completely, we were ordered to sodomize each other otherwise they would execute us…During the act, our guards shouted us to do it harder.”

In 2009 Mali ratified the International Convention prohibiting enforced disappearances and therefore has an obligation under international law to make known immediately the whereabouts of all those soldiers and policemen who disappeared in the crackdown following the failed counter-coup. A list of names is available in Amnesty International’s report.

“The transitional government in Mali is failing in its task to protect the human rights of its citizens and this lawlessness cannot be allowed to continue,” said Gaetan Mootoo.

“Malian judicial officials must launch an immediate investigation into these very serious events and restore stability to a country that has suffered immeasurably over the past six months.”

Issue

Detention 
Disappearances And Abductions 
Extrajudicial Executions And Other Unlawful Killings 
Torture And Ill-treatment 

Country

Mali 

Region

Africa 

Campaigns

Security with Human Rights 

Index card

Mali: "We haven't seen our cellmates since": Enforced disappearances and torture of soldiers and police officers opposed to the junta

Download:


This document is also available in:

French

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

22 August 2014

The rare acquittal of a death row prisoner in China, who had languished in prison through six years’ of appeals, is another reminder of the need to immediately end all... Read more »

21 August 2014

After fleeing their homes and surviving a perilous Mediterranean crossing, African migrants in Italy are falling prey to labor gangs.

Read more »
22 August 2014

A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country... Read more »