Mali court rejects treason charge against Keita

Bamako - Mali's High Court on Monday rejected an attempt by a civil society collective to have President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita face a charge of high treason.

A group of associations filed the complaint against Keita last week to the court, which is competent to judge the country's leaders if accused by the National Assembly of misconduct in office.

The Biprem collective, the Popular and Pacific Intervention Block for the Reunification of Mali accused Keita of "high treason and calamitous management" of the country.

Biprem also accused the president of reneging on a promise made at his 2013 investiture to "guarantee Mali's territorial integrity" amid widespread ongoing insecurity.

Mali's vast, desolate north continues to be beset by violence, having fallen under the control of Tuareg-led rebels and jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda in 2012.

A landmark peace agreement was reached last year between the Mali government and Tuareg-led rebels, but jihadist violence remains a threat.

"The High Court has rejected the document," a court official told AFP. The decision was also published in a High Court document.

The court said it considered Biprem's complaint against Kaite as merely a "tract" and added that "these associations are not entitled" to bring such a case.

It added to accept a case would require the support of two-thirds of national assembly lawmakers.

Biprem's announcement that it was filing a complaint last week sparked controversy in Mali as intellectuals and a politician cited as members or signatories denied having any part in it.

They included writer Seydou Badian Kouyate, who was a minister under Mali's first president Modibo Keita.

"I categorically deny it. I'm not a member of Biprem and I did not sign the document. I do not see why my name is mentioned," Kouyate told AFP on Monday.

Biprem is headed by Lassine Diawara, a journalist and supporter of Amadou Aya Sanogo, an army officer who led a 2012 coup against then president Amadou Toumani Toure.

Diawara backed Keita at the 2013 election but then switched to the opposition.

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