LOME, Togo

Amnesty International demanded on Wednesday that Malian authorities end the illegal administrative detention of former leaders and insisted on their immediate release.

“Former transitional President Bah N’Daw and former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have been deprived of their freedom of movement, without any legal basis, since their overthrow on 24 May by Colonel Assimi Goita, who became president of the transition. This overthrow took place following a ministerial reshuffle,” according to the rights group.

Generals Mohamed Lamine Ballo and Souleymane Doucoure, appointed Minister of Public Security and Civil Protection, and Defense Minister, respectively, are also still being held at the Kati military camp, as were N’Daw and Ouane during the coup.

“After several days of detention in Kati, they were placed under house arrest as of May 28, 2021, in his private residence for Prime Minister Ouane, and in Camp A of the armed forces, for President N’Daw,” it said.

Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Samira Daoud, said the house arrest was “ordered by Colonel Goita, among others, without judicial authorization.”

It amounts to “arbitrary detention” in violation of the Malian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Mali, said Daoud.

The “security reasons” invoked by the transitional authorities do not justify the deprivations of liberty and the victims must “be released immediately and unconditionally,” said the group.

The coup occurred as Mali has been in transition since a previous overthrow of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Aug. 18, 2020.

Assimi Goita, the leader of the two operations, denounced the sabotage of the transition by N’Daw and his group.

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