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HRW: Mali forces abducting, torturing soldiers and journalists

Mali security forces loyal to the country's coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, have been abducting and torturing opposition soldiers and journalists, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [press release] Wednesday. The report says that 20 soldiers involved in a counter-coup to overthrow Sanago in April have disappeared, and several others have been detained. HRW said that while it is lawful to detain forces of a counter-coup, Sanago's security forces have engaged in torture of detainees, and the group said the 20 missing soldiers are feared dead. The report also said that several journalists have been abducted and beaten. HRW called on authorities in Mali to investigate allegations of torture and disappearances and to ensure fair treatment of future lawful detainees.

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said earlier this month that her office is opening a preliminary examination [JURIST report] of the recent violence in Mali, after the ICC received a letter from Malian government officials requesting an ICC investigation. Malian Justice Minister Malick Coulibaly said earlier this month that he would ask the ICC to open an investigation [JURIST report]. In May Amnesty International reported that Mali is facing its worst human rights crisis [JURIST report] since it gained independence in 1960. HRW released a similar report in April claiming that all sides to the conflict are committing war crimes [JURIST report]. Earlier in April the ICC said they would monitor the situation [JURIST report] in Mali for potential crimes under the ICC's jurisdiction. All of this has come after Malian soldiers took control of the government [JURIST report] and suspended the constitution in March. Many in the international community have expressed concern over the situation, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees [JURIST reports]. The turmoil began when Taureg rebels attacked Malian soldiers [Al Jazeera report].

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