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Malian Court Sentences Economist for Criticizing Junta

Mali’s court has sentenced Etienne Fakaba Sissoko, an advisor to Mali’s ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, to two years in prison for criticizing the West African country’s ruling military junta.  Sissoko, an economist and professor at the University of Bamako, had been charged with harming the state’s reputation, defamation, and spreading misinformation. He had published a book in 2023 that criticized the junta for its use of propaganda, manipulation, and outright lies in its communications with the Malian public. He had alleged that the junta’s goal was to influence public opinion during its promised transition to civilian rule. Given the transition hasn’t materialized even though the March 2024 deadline has elapsed, it would appear Sissoko’s allegations in his book were right. Sissoko’s lawyer, Ibrahim Marhouf Sacko, plans to appeal. If unsuccessful, Sissoko will serve a two-year prison sentence with one suspended. Previously, Sissoko was jailed in 2022 for criticizing government policies.