A well-known radio and television host in Mali was charged and imprisoned Monday in Bamako after declaring that a former prime minister who died in detention a year ago under the junta had been "murdered ", we learned.
Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, known as "Ras Bath", an activist, polemicist and animator with many sympathizers, said on Saturday that Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga "is not dead, he was assassinated, that's the right term".
His indictment and his placement under a warrant of committal were confirmed to AFP by two judicial sources and by Sam Samabaly, a member of the Collective for the Defense of the Republic of which Mr Bathily is a spokesperson.
The circumstances of the death of former head of government Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga have returned to the news as the first anniversary of his disappearance approaches on March 21, 2022.
This heavyweight in national politics died in detention despite urgent calls by his relatives to the junta for his evacuation abroad due to the deterioration of his state of health.
Mr Maïga had been between 2017 and 2019 the Prime Minister of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, overthrown in August 2020 by colonels still in power today.
His memory was evoked on Saturday during a conference supposed to mark the return to politics of his party, the Alliance for Solidarity in Mali (Asma). This is where "Ras Bath" expressed himself.
He did not directly accuse the junta. He especially criticized the allies of the former Prime Minister for their inaction when, for some, they participated in power. "No one called the authority," he said. The facilitator was summoned Monday by the police before being taken to court.
Before being summoned, the Collective for the Defense of the Military (CDM) had asked the courts to take up these statements. The appeals of this organization, one of the most offensive supporters of the junta, are often followed by effect. "Is Ras Bath a demon created for his people?", asked the collective in a press release.
Before "Ras Bath", a senior magistrate, Mohamed Chérif Koné, had declared on the night of Thursday to Friday to the Joliba TV channel that Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga had "been targeted" because he demanded a rapid return of civilians to power then that junta supporters "wanted an endless transition".
This former Advocate General at the Supreme Court was sacked in September 2021 after protesting against the arrest of the former Prime Minister who died in custody.
Mohamed Chérif Koné accused the President and the Attorney General of the Supreme Court on Joliba TV of being "at the root of (the) legal tragedy" suffered by the former head of government.
The latter had been imprisoned as part of an investigation into the purchase of military equipment and the acquisition of a presidential plane in 2014 when he was Minister of Defense.
"Ras Bath" as well as several personalities had already spent nearly four months in detention in 2021 after being implicated for the preparation of a mysterious coup against the junta.
The case had caused great perplexity at the time. The Supreme Court eventually ordered the charges dropped.
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