17 August 2017

Mali: ICC Orders Ex-Islamic Radical to Pay Damages for Destruction of Shrines

Photo: CPI
Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi a plaidé

The International Criminal Court has ordered an Islamic extremist to pay $3.2 million in restitution for destroying centuries-old religious shrines in Mali.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was convicted by the court last year for overseeing the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque door with pickaxes and bulldozers in the ancient city of Timbuktu, when extremists briefly seized control of northern Mali in 2012.

In a landmark ruling, the court treated the destruction of the shrines as a war crime when it sentenced Al-Mahdi to nine years in prison. He was facing as many as 30 years in jail, but the court took into account his admission of guilt and expression of remorse.

The shrines date back as far as the 14th century and are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency. The U.N. agency has since restored the mausoleums.

Known as "the City of 333 Saints," Timbuktu is regarded as a center of Islamic teaching and key to the spread of Islam across the African continent.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said al-Mahdi's alleged actions amounted to "a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations and their region and historical roots."

Then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said such acts "are a tragedy for all civilized people, and the civilized world must take a stand."


As Millions Face Hunger in Sahel, More Accountability Is Needed to Attract Support, Warns Red Cross President

About 5.8 million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal are struggling to get enough… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.