MALI: Editor imprisoned for publishing open letter

RAN 12/13 – 25 March 2013

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International protests the continued detention of Le Républicain editor Boukary Daou, charged with “inciting disobedience” and “publishing false news” following the publication of an open letter on 6 March 2013. PEN International calls for the charges against Daou to be dropped and for his immediate and unconditional release.

On 18 March 2013, Boukary Daou, editor for the daily newspaper Le Républicain, was charged with “inciting disobedience” and “publishing false news” following the 6 March publication of an open letter critical of a financial compensation package awarded to a March 2012 coup leader. Daou is currently being held in Bamako’s central prison. His lawyers have filed a petition seeking his release on bail pending trial. Due to appear in court on 16 April, if convicted Daou faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of 150 million CFA francs (approx. US$295,000).

Daou was arrested by state security agents at Le Républicain’s offices a few hours after publication of the open letter, in which an individual claiming to be a Malian army officer protested a financial compensation package awarded to March 2012 coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo and suggested that fighting on the frontline against Islamist militants would cease if the package was not withdrawn. The editor was reportedly held incommunicado, without access to a lawyer or his family, and beaten and interrogated about the source of the letter. According to reports, he was held for eight days by state security before being transferred to the Judicial Investigation Squad. Interim President Dioncounda Traoré declared that Daou would remain in detention for going “beyond his press freedom rights,” according to media reports, and would be released if “there is nothing else besides what was written.”

Independent Malian media organisations showed their support for Daou by staging a four-day media blackout.  Since resuming their activities, private media outlets in the country have asserted that they will not cover official government business until Daou is released.

Useful links

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the imprisonment of Le Républicain editor Boukary Daou on charges of “inciting disobedience” and “spreading false news” after he published an open letter;
  • Calling on the Malian authorities to drop all charges against Daou and for his immediate and unconditional release;
  • Until such time as Daou is released, ensure he has full access to legal and medical assistance;
  • Ensure that allegations that Daou was assaulted while in prison are thoroughly investigated.

Send your appeals to:

Interim President

M. Dioncounda Traore

Salutation: Your Excellency

Prime Minister

M. Diango Cissoko

Salutation: Dear Prime Minister* 

Minister of Justice

M. Malick Coulibaly

Salutation: Dear Minister

At the following address:

ACI 2000 Hamdallaye, Bamako, BP E 5467

Tel: +223 229 54 18/ 229 94 21/ 229 94 13

Email: dg [at] [dot] ml

Or via your nearest Malian embassy – for details of some Malian embassies around the world, see:

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*Electronic messages can also be sent to the Prime Minister via the government’s website:  ‘.((strlen(‘’)>40) ? substr(‘′,0,40).’…’ : ‘′).’

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 21 May 2013***