Target: Government of Mali
Goal: Immediately investigate the alleged kidnappings and torture of prisoners and soldiers
In a disturbing report by Human Rights Watch, a series of covered-up kidnappings, imprisonments and torture have taken place in Mali. At least twenty soldiers involved in an alleged counter-coup that took place earlier this year were kidnapped, tortured and abused by soldiers loyal to Mali’s current coup leader.
Soldiers and the armed forces of Capt. Amadou Sanogo openly engage in intimidation tactics against journalists and media figures, soldiers, and anyone else thought to be a threat to the current regime. So far, Human Rights Watch has tallied twenty soldiers thought to be victims of enforced disappearances—these soldiers are thought to be dead.
“Malian authorities have a duty to the victims of torture and the families of the disappeared to ensure these crimes are investigated and those responsible brought to book,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with thirty witnesses—eight of which witnessed the torture and enforced disappearances. According to these witnesses, police officers, security services, soldiers and members of the national guard committed these abuses against other soldiers and prisoners. Witnesses at the Kati military camp saw soldiers and officers hogtie and drag prisoners across the ground, beat prisoners with guns, batons and sticks, and commit physical abuses by beating them in the head, ribs or genitals. Some of the prisoners were even stabbed in their arms and legs, and others were suffocated.
Psychological torture was also witnessed, as officers and soldiers would submit prisoners to mock executions. Many times, detainees would be denied food and water, forced to drink their own urine to survive.
These atrocities are not reserved for political opposition. Journalists and members of the media are harassed regularly. In July 2012, two prominent journalists were kidnapped by armed gunmen, beaten, dropped by the side of the road and told to stop criticizing the military. As a part of a widespread crackdown on journalism and free speech, journalists are being forced to reveal private information, compromise their sources and drop investigations.
These abuses, enforced disappearances and intimidation tactics are undoubtedly human rights violations. An investigation and subsequent punishment for the offenders must take place immediately. Sign below to call upon the government of Mali to take responsibility and look into these abuses.
Dear Interim Government of Mali,
There are blatant and despicable human rights violations occurring throughout the country of Mali. Everywhere, members of political opposition and soldiers are being kidnapped, imprisoned and brutally abused and beaten. This cannot go on.
Journalists are being subjected to interrogations, forced to reveal their sources and drop investigations that may reveal negative information about the government and military. In one instance, two journalists were actually kidnapped and beaten after being told to stop criticizing the Malian military. This is unacceptable.
For these enforced kidnappings and abuses to go on without investigation would be despicable. The government of Mali must launch an investigation immediately, and bring those who have abused their power to justice. They must be held accountable.
[Your Name Here]