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Mali presenter to remain in custody despite acquittal on one count

Malian activist Mohamed Youssouf Bathily also known as Ras Bath leaves the Maison de la Presse (Press House) in Bamako on August 1, 2018.   -  
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Supporters of a prominent Malian TV and radio journalist welcomed Tuesday (Jul. 11) his acquittal of charges of "faking crimes... and inventing evidence for a non-existent crime."

Outside Bamako's District Court of Commune IV, their voiced their support as Mohamed Youssouf Bathily's convoy passed. Bathily has still got hurdles to overcome, a leader of a local rights group says.

"Unfortunately, there are two cases against him. The second case is in the chambers, the first chambers in Commune 4, which has not yet been executed or even started," Mamadou N. Fofana, the president of the Association Malienne d'Appui aux Justiciables (AMAJ) said.

"The judge who has a committal order against him, Judge Maïga, has been transferred. We're waiting for his replacement. I would like to see him, so that we too can look at the case, see if we can get to the bottom of it and seek provisional release for Rasta."

Bathily, also known as Ras Bath, was placed in custody on March 13 after allegedly saying former prime minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga did not die from natural causes while he was behind bars but had been "assassinated".

Maiga served as Prime minister under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Keita was overthrown in August 2020 by army officers angered at his failure to curb a long-running jihadist insurgency that continues to this day.

"Logically, he had to remain, and he did, in prison because another warrant came from the chamber. Unfortunately, the chamber's also issued a committal order."

The journalists’ lawyer said he was detained pending the outcome of other charges in the same case, namely criminal association, harming the reputation of the state and committing a crime "of a religious and racist nature."

The public prosecutor has appealed against his acquittal on the first raft of charges, one of the prosecution team announced.

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