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Mali: armed group that carried out man's extra-judicial execution must face justice

Amnesty International has denounced the extra-judicial execution by firing squad of a man in Mali yesterday as a horrific and illegal act, and the organisation is calling for those responsible to be held to account.

The call came after the man, who had been accused of murdering his neighbour, was shot yesterday evening by members of an Islamist armed group seeking to impose their strict interpretation of Sharia law.

A witness to the execution told Amnesty: “They brought him between 5pm and 6pm in a square between [two] hotels … and said that this man had killed a person and should therefore be killed. They made him pray first, then they tied his hands and feet and forced him to kneel. And many of them shot at him. When they fired, the crowd left the place because we didn't want to see this.”

Amnesty International West Africa researcher Gaëtan Mootoo said:

“Irrespective of the offences committed, extra-judicial executions are prohibited under international humanitarian and human rights law and all parties involved in the conflict in Mali must ensure civilians are protected.

“Fighting in Mali has died down, but could ignite again at any time and it is essential all parties ensure civilians are protected in strict compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law.”

Following a 15-day research mission in September, Amnesty recently revealed widespread abuses in several locations across Mali. Its report - “Mali: Civilians bear the brunt of the conflict” - documented cases of extra-judicial executions, sexual violence, amputations, stoning and the recruitment of child soldiers by armed Islamist groups in the north of the country and also by self-defence militias in government-controlled areas.

Northern Mali has been overrun by Islamist and Tuareg armed groups following a coup in Bamako in March. Armed groups currently control much of northern Mali, comprising about two-thirds of the country.

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