MALI: Editor jailed for publishing open letter released pending trial

Update #1 to RAN 12/13 – 9 April 2013

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release pending trial of Le Républicain editor Boukary Daou, charged with “inciting disobedience” and “publishing false news” following the publication of an open letter in March. However, PEN International continues to call for the charges against Daou to be dropped.

On 2 April 2013, a judge granted Boukary Daou’s application for bail pending trial for “inciting disobedience” and “publishing false news”. Doau, editor for the daily newspaper Le Républicain, had been detained for 27 days in connection with the publication of an open letter critical of a financial compensation package awarded to a March 2012 coup leader. His trial is due to commence on 16 April 2013. If convicted, Daou reportedly 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 on 6 March 2013, 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Sanogo and suggested that fighting on the frontline against Islamist militants would cease if the package was not withdrawn.

During the first eight days of his detention Daou was held incommunicado at the state security headquarters before being transferred to the Judicial Investigation Squad. While in state security custody, the journalist was reportedly held without access to lawyers or his family, and was beaten and interrogated about the source of the letter. After being charged on 18 March 2013, he was transferred to Bamako’s central prison where he shared a cell with approximate 50 other detainees. Independent Malian media organisations showed their support for Daou by staging a three-day media blackout.

Useful links

Please send appeals:

  • Welcoming the release pending trial of Le Républicain editor Boukary Daou;
  • Calling on the Malian authorities to drop the charges of “inciting disobedience” and “spreading false news” laid against Daou after he published an open letter;
  • 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 9 June 2013***