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Mali: Rights Expert Calls for ‘Immediate Release’ of Former Officials Detained During Coup

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An independent UN human rights expert has called on Mali’s coup leaders to release former government officials, who have been detained for more than a month.

According to a news release by the UN human rights office (OHCHR), at least 13 people, among the 18 arrested by coup leaders on 18 August, are still being held illegally, at the Kati military camp in Bamako, in spite of calls for their release from global and regional leaders, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

“There is no legal basis for detention of the former prime minister, the former president of the National Assembly, and other former Malian officials taken into custody in the coup d’état,” Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, said in the news release, on Wednesday.

“I call on the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to comply with Mali’s international human rights obligations … everyone arrested during the coup must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

The independent expert added that the detention contravenes international and regional human rights instruments to which Mali is a party.

Under international law, no one should be deprived of liberty except in accordance with the law. Anyone arrested must be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for their arrest and promptly informed of any charges against them, added the news release.

“I urge the CNSP to scrupulously respect their rights, including the right to communicate with their families and lawyers and to receive visits, in particular from family members,” Mr. Tine said.

“But above all, I urge the CNSP to release them immediately.”

The Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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