The lawyer for the Ivorian Ben Souk, arrested in Mali, is demanding

In Mali, it has only been two weeks since the Ivorian Sess Soukou Mohamed, known as Ben Souk, was imprisoned. The former deputy, close to Guillaume Soro, was arrested on August 10 as part of the international arrest warrant issued against him by the judiciary in his country. However, his lawyer believes that the procedure is irregular, he appealed the demand that he be released.

His relatives had first believed in a kidnapping, Ben Souk has been arrested in the middle of the street by men with hoods. A statement released the next day by the prosecutor for Municipality 4 in Bamako clarified things: it was the gendarmes who arrested the former Ivorian deputy. Like other members of his party, GPS, he has been accused by the Ivorian courts of “subversive acts” and has been the subject of an international arrest warrant since November 2020.

“Political persecution,” according to his lawyer. But two weeks later, his lawyer, Maître Kalifo Yaro, still considers the proceedings “illegal”. He does not deny the existence of the international arrest warrant against his client, nor the legitimacy of extradition proceedings, but he believes that his muscular arrest of men with hoods and his current arrest are not justified.

“The judicial authorities knew he had lived in Mali for over a year and knew where he lived. Under these conditions, do we have to go and catch it with hoods? An international arrest warrant is granted within the framework of due process! “Ivorian’s protester, who confirms that his client” is the subject of political persecution. He is a politician who fled his country for political reasons. In Mali, there is no act he has committed that can justify his kidnapping and detention. “

Ben Souk is currently detained on the premises of the Bamako Gendarmerie, where his lawyer was finally able to visit him twice. But Master Kalifo Yaro, who has appealed the demand for his “immediate release”, still does not have access to his client’s file. “So far, I am the only lawyer in the file, but I have not had access to this file. So it is an investigation that may be carried out in a partial way and that does not guarantee the right to a defense, “he believes.

A legal source close to the file justifies: according to the texts, the judge is obliged to notify the file to the defense when the date of the hearing has been set. In the meantime, the preliminary investigation is ongoing.

An exchange of good practice? Ben Souk is a former Ivorian deputy for Guillaume Soros’s party, an opponent of President Ouattara, many members of whom have been arrested or even convicted in recent months for “attempting to undermine state security” or “conspiracy”.

The arrest of Ben Souk, married to a Malian and who therefore lived in Mali, is it a way for Bamako to warm up his relationship with the Ivorian neighbor, damaged by the military coup in August 2020? To obtain extradition of through the exchange of good practice Karim Keita, son of former president IBK who took refuge in Abidjan and asserted by the Malian justice in another act? Some observers wonder, Kalifa Yaro is still cautious.

“Who knows! I do not know. Recently, arrest warrants have been issued like this. I am a lawyer, I am bound by law, I do not need to know what is happening between Mr Ouattara and the military junta in power in Mali, it is nothing of my cause. We challenge the arrest. “

Despite these issues, there is nothing to link the Malian political authorities to this legal process.


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