Malian Junta Jails Professor For Criticizing Leadership Style

A prominent Malian economist whose name has been given as Etienne Fakaba Sissoko has been jailed for two years over his criticism of the Malian Junta.

Mr Sissoko who is a 41-year-old professor at the University of BamakoUniversity of Bamako, was also ordered to pay a fine of 3 million CFA francs ($4,900; £3,900).

The economist, who had been in custody since March, was charged with defamation and damaging the state’s reputation by distributing fake news.

The accusations include a book he released the previous year, which he defended in court by stating the material was fact-based.

Propaganda, Agitation, and Harassment—Government Communication during the Transition in Mali is the work that precipitated his most recent detention.

It also accused the junta of using manipulation and “even lies” to sway public opinion in its favor.

Mr Sissoko’s lawyer, Ibrahim Marhouf Sacko, said he was “not surprised” by the verdict and would be filing an appeal.

Read Also: Confusion As Niger’s Junta Revokes Military Agreement With US

Human rights groups said Mr Sissoko’s case latest in a widespread crackdown on critics and political opponents of the military rulers.

The military junta took over power in August 2020 when then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was overthrown in a coup after anti-government protests over his handling of jihadist unrest.

Africa Today News, New York recalls that Mr Sissoko once served as an adviser to the late Mr Keïta and spent several months in jail in 2022.

The junta has faced criticism for reneging on agreed timelines for transitioning to democratic civilian rule. Elections due to be held in February were again postponed.

In another report, the military junta in Niger Republic has officially terminated a military agreement that allowed US personnel to be deployed in the country.

Yesterday’s announcement came barely days after a delegation from Washington had been in Niamey for talks with the country’s military leadership.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the US was known to use its base in Niger to monitor regional jihadist activity.

This latest announcement by the junta, in power since last July, comes as it moves closer to Russia and after French troops were kicked out in December.

Africa Today News, New York

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