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Mali: the jihadist who destroyed the mausoleums of Timbuktu calls for his release


In 2016, the International Criminal Court sentenced Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi to nine years in prison, thereby recognizing for the first time the

His conviction had marked a turning point.

In 2016, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was sentenced to nine years in prison by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Its misdeeds?

The destruction with a pickaxe, a hoe and a chisel, of nine mausoleums in Timbuktu.

From this war crime, the first relating to cultural works to be recognized as such by the ICC, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi today draws "remorse" from "sadness".

He asks to be released on Tuesday, claiming to have become another man in detention.

"I am here before you today to express to you and to the whole world my regrets for all the crimes that I have committed in the past and all the damage that has resulted from these crimes," he said. he declared before the judges.

Born circa 1975, Mr. Al Mahdi was a member of Ansar Dine, one of the jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda that controlled northern Mali for about ten months in 2012, before being largely driven out by an international intervention launched in January 2013 by France.

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In 2016, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi had intentionally directed attacks against the door of the Sidi Yahia mosque and nine of the mausoleums of Timbuktu (northern Mali), classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Mali and humanity deprived of a piece of its history

The ICC has estimated the amount of damage caused by Mr. Al Mahdi at 2.7 million euros.

At the time, this conviction caused a lot of talk because the ICC usually judges massacres, "blood crimes".

In the Al Mahdi affair, no corpses, but heritage reduced to nothing and Mali and humanity deprived of a piece of its history.

A few months after this historic sentence, in March 2017, the UN Security Council passed a resolution aimed at strengthening the means of defense of threatened sites in conflict zones.


"The deliberate destruction of heritage is a war crime", then recognizes the Director General of the UN, Irina Bokova.

The former head of Hisbah, the Islamic moral brigade, assures us that he has “completely dissociated himself from the world of crime and that he will never return”.

He asks the judges to accept his request for early release, three years before the end of his sentence.

The accusation in favor of a reduction of the sentence

"Mr. Al Mahdi has spent six years in detention and during those six years he has become a much better person," said his lawyer, Mohamed Aouini.

“He confessed very, very frankly and expressed deep remorse.

He asked the victims to forgive him.

He's not the same man he was when he arrived in The Hague, ”he added.

The prosecution said it was in favor of a reduced sentence.

"It is no longer so much a question of judging a man on past facts, but of gauging a man by looking to the future and the impact that a reduction of sentence could have on society, men and women. , or whatever, ”she said.

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2021-10-12

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