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SG of Mali's truth commission brutally assaults and threatens editor

A protester holds a placard reading 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' outside a courthouse in Sikasso, Mali, 30 November 2016
A protester holds a placard reading 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' outside a courthouse in Sikasso, Mali, 30 November 2016

-/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 4 December 2018.

A Malian soldier and Secretary-General of the country's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (CVJR) has physically assaulted and forced a journalist to drink urine over the latter's Facebook article questioning the impact of the Commission's work.

Hamidou Toure El Hadji, the Managing Editor of the online news organisation, malimedias.com, was on November 29, 2018 summoned by Colonel Abdoulaye Makalou, the Secretary-General of the CVJR to his office.

Suspecting foul play, El Hadji Toure requested to meet the officer in an open place instead of his office. The journalist's car however broke down mid-way on his trip to meet the Colonel. As Toure waited for the car to be fixed, the Colonel arrived and took him away to his office, together with a cousin who was accompanying him for security reasons.

According to media reports, the journalist was forced to drink his own urine after being pummeled to a pulp by the soldier's bodyguards. Toure's companion was also beaten in a separate room. Colonel Abdoulaye Makalou reportedly threatened Toure with death if he dared report his ordeal to anyone.

"Before releasing me, the Colonel threatened me with death if I spoke about what had happened to anyone," Toure told local media.

Meanwhile, the journalist has lodged a complaint against the Colonel with the Gendarmerie, the military unit to which Colonel Makalou belongs.

The MFWA condemns this vicious attack on the journalist for merely exercising his civic right to raise issues about the work of a public Commission. We call on the Gendarmerie in Mali to sanction Colonel Makalou. We also urge the victims to lodge a formal complaint with the police.

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