Friday, March 29, 2013

Malian Soldiers Torture Detainees in Léré

In the city of Léré, Mali, seven men were detained by soldiers as suspected supporters for armed Islamic extremist groups. The men claimed that they were not even interrogated. They were just tortured and had death threats yelled at them before being transferred to another location where they received medical treatment for their injuries. Types of torture experienced by the victims include repeated beating, waterboarding, and being injected with a caustic substance that could cause lasting damage the victims. One victim is reported to have gone blind in one eye while another has gone deaf.

Since January 2012, Mali has been in a state of rebellion with the Islamic northern part of the country staging a coup. The Tuareg, Arab, and Peuhl ethnic groups make up a majority of the rebellious faction. Multiple cases of torture by Malian soldiers against these ethnic groups have been reported in the northern part of the country.

The French have already sent and intervention force but the UN may take further measures. The victims of the torture claimed they thought they would be safe to travel to the market because of the presence of the French soldiers, but they were still detained and tortured by Malian soldiers. The Malian army is using their more advanced technological resources to take advantage of the poorer parts of the nation to attack minority groups. There is not proof that any of the victims are associated with any rebel groups. Even then, it is unacceptable to torture anyone for any reason. I believe that if the UN ends up intervening in the northern Mali conflict, they also need to investigate the current government of Mali and their military to prevent further human rights violations from taking place.

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