Overthrown Malian president in treason probe

2013-12-28 20:03
Former Mali president Amadou Toumani Toure. (File, AFP)

Former Mali president Amadou Toumani Toure. (File, AFP)

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Bamako - Mali's government has asked for former president Amadou Toumani Toure to be prosecuted for "high treason" for allegedly allowing the northern half of the country to fall to armed Islamists, a judicial source said on Saturday.

The newly-elected national assembly will decide whether to allow the legal proceedings to go ahead after ministers referred Toure to the supreme court, the source told AFP.

Toure was overthrown by a group of mid-level army officers in March last year who believed he had failed to provide adequate support for their fight against Tuareg separatists, toppling what had been heralded as one of west Africa's most stable democracies.

The coup precipitated a crisis in which al-Qaeda-linked groups seized control of the country's north, ruling with a brutal vision of Islamic law until a French-led military intervention forced them out.

Toure is accused of facilitating "the penetration and installation of foreign forces in the country, notably by not offering them any resistance", according to a government statement released late on Friday.

The statement said the former leader, who was in power for 10 years, had "deliberately destroyed or damaged a tool for national defence" and participated in "an attempt to demoralise the army".

In the months after the coup and a failed counter-coup in April 2012, junta leader Amadou Sanogo's then-headquarters in the central town of Kati were the scene of abuses and killings carried out against soldiers seen as loyal to Toure.

Sanogo was arrested on 27 November and charged along with 15 other people, mostly fellow soldiers from his inner circle, for alleged crimes during the coup and its aftermath.

The government says Sanogo has been charged with complicity in kidnappings, but a source close to the judge in the case told AFP the charges also include murder, complicity to murder and kidnappings.

The party of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and its allies won parliamentary elections on December 15, marking the country's transition back to democracy.

Under Malian law, it is the high court, made up of lawmakers, which sits in judgement on current or former presidents.

The judicial source said the prosecutor had asked the national assembly to authorise the opening of the investigation.

Read more on:    amadou toumani toure  |  mali  |  west africa
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