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Free Press On Trial In Mali


Malian journalist Boukary Daou

Boukary Daou, publication director of L’Republican, a daily newspaper in the capital Bamako, is set go to trial on April 16.

A journalist in Mali faces trial next week, accused of inciting disobedience and printing false news for publishing a letter criticizing the salary and benefits of Captain Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the coup that toppled the West African nation’s government last year. Boukary Daou, publication director of L’Republican, a daily newspaper in the capital Bamako, is set go to trial on April 16. The United States continues to monitor developments in the case, and we call on the Malian authorities to afford him his full due process rights.


Daou was detained by the nation’s intelligence service on March 6 after his paper published a letter purporting to be from frontline soldiers criticizing the salary paid to coup leader Sanogo. After stepping aside following the coup, he was given the titular role of president of a military reform commission. In the letter, the soldiers called on Mali’s acting President Dioncounda Traore to review Sanago’s pay or they would stop fighting.

Daou was held without charges at State Security headquarters, then was transferred to Bamako’s central prison. His arrest sparked objections by other Malian journalists, who launched a three-day news strike among newspapers and broadcasters there. It also attracted international attention for the threat his treatment posed to press freedoms.

Daou has been released on bail, but still faces prosecution. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 150 million CFA francs, approximately $293,000.

We call on Malian authorities to fully protect press and speech freedoms. A free press is a crucial part of any democratic society.
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