The man who led the infamous March 2012 coup d’état that toppled former Mali dictator Amadou Toumani Touré – the coup that ignited the Tuareg and Islamist occupation in the north – has become an ‘untouchable’ figure in Mali.
And whoever criticises Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo or touches even one piece of his hair will be dealt with harshly by the government.
This is what journalist and editor Boukary Daou found out, when he published an open letter criticising the special favours being granted to Sanogo, favours which are said to have generated unhappiness and almost caused munity in the army.
Sanogo is feared by many among the political and military elite, and is said to have a final say in the day-to-day affairs of the country despite handing over power to President Dioncounda Traoré.
But now Daou is out of jail, released on bail just like any other criminal who broke the law by causing physical harm.
Nevertheless, the local and international media fraternity is relieved to see their colleague free, even if he is not yet free like a bird.
“We are relieved that Boukary is free at last, after spending nearly a month behind bars,” Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Africa advocacy coordinator Mohamed Keita said.
“We urge the public prosecutor to abandon these charges against him, which criminalise press freedom and freedom of expression.”
Daou, who was locked in a prison cell together with 50 inmates, is the editor of the Bamako-based daily newspaper Le Républicain.
*Photo: courtesy of Le Républicain. Boukary Daou in his office