French

Journalist assaulted, opposition protests banned and dispersed

Journalist assaulted

On 29th November 2018, journalist and managing editor of malimedias.com, an online news outlet, El Hadji Hamidou Touré was assaulted and threatened by the secretary general of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (CVJR), Colonel Abdoulaye Makalou. According to Touré, summoned by Colonel Makalou to his office over a Facebook post raising questions on the CVJR's impact, Makalou's bodyguards beat him and forced him to drink his own urine. Before being released, Makalou also allegedly threatened to kill him if the journalist would talk to anyone about these events. Although Makalou acknowledged having summoned the journalist, he maintains there was "no act of aggression". Colonel Makalou resigned on 3rd December 2018, according to media reports. 

Arnaud Froger of Reporters Without Borders commented

"We strongly condemn this mistreatment of the editor of Malimedias, which is unacceptable, and we call on the authorities to ensure that an independent investigation is carried out and that this journalist’s safety is guaranteed. The credibility of the CVJR, whose primary mission is investigating abuses, is clearly at stake. It is therefore essential that all necessary resources should be made available to the investigators so that those responsible for such an act of such gravity against a journalist are punished.”

Peaceful Assembly

On 16th November 2018, security forces used tear gas to disperse an opposition protest in front of the Bourse du Travail in Bamako. The protest, organised by opposition parties Front de la sauvegarde de la démocratie (FSD) and the Coalition des forces patriotiques (CoFoP), was previously banned by authorities. Security forces cornered off the place of assembly of the protesters and dispersed, 45 minutes before the protest was planned to start, those present. One person, an elected official, was reported to have been injured. 

Security forces prevented another opposition protest, on 8th December 2018, from taking place by closing off the assembly point of the protest and dispersing protesters trying to get through the blockage. According to media reports, authorities said they banned the protest on grounds of the state of emergency. 

As previously reported on the Monitor, several opposition protests took place between June and September 2018, in the context of the July 2018 presidential elections, some of which were dispersed by security forces. 

Association

In a press conference on 9th November 2018, 47 human rights CSOs denounced the draft law on 'national agreement' aimed to contribute to peace and national reconciliation in Mali, set to be debated in the National Assembly on 13th December 2018. According to the organisations, the draft law does not ensure justice for victims of human rights violations as "the text provides for the exemption from criminal prosecution of persons who have committed crimes and offenses punishable under the Malian Penal Code or Conventions ratified by Mali" during events surrounding the crisis of the country in 2012. The group said it planned a series of actions, including protests and sit-ins, against the draft law.