The indictment section of the Bamako Court of Appeal, on Tuesday rejected a bail application for the provisional release of Mali’s ex-junta leader, General Amadou Haya Sanogo and 17 others.They were accused of involvement in the assassination of 21 Red Berets in 2012.
“I can confirm that the indictment section of the Bamako Court of Appeal, today rejected the request for release on bail that we had made for our clients, General Amadou Haya Sanogo and his fellow inmates,” Cheick Oumar Konar, one of the lawyers for the accused said.
This long-awaited court decision comes just after the publication of a statement by the wives and parents of the detained military members demanding their immediate trial or release.
Last week, General Sanogo and 17 co-defendants, indicted since 2013 for murder and complicity in the killing of the 21 military Red Berets, went on hunger strike to demand their release, on the grounds that they had exhausted their statutory period of preventive detention.
The defense lawyers have no intention of giving up on their clients’ release despite the court’s rejection of their bail application, Konare said.
“We will lodge an appeal to the Court of Cassation,” he said.
“Keeping someone in the bonds of pre-trial detention for four years, while the limit set by the law is a maximum of three years does not seem fair to us” he argued.
The trial involving General Sanogo and his co-defendants opened in November 2016, but was suspended to allow DNA tests and analysis on the bodies of the 21 soldiers found dumped in a mass grave near Bamako in 2013.