“It is a difficult decision to bear,” said Moussa Traoré, the representative of Ivory Coast’s ruling party, who was in Bamako after the proceedings ended. “These are soldiers who are in the regular army of Ivory Coast.”
The soldiers were sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined more than $3,000 each. Three female soldiers, who were arrested along with their male colleagues but later released, were sentenced to death in absentia — the maximum penalty, given because they did not appear for their hearing in court.
The 49 soldiers were arrested in July and later charged with trying to undermine the external security of the state, conspiracy against the government, and carrying heavy weapons with the goal of disturbing public order. They were held in jail while Malian officials put the case together.
In effect, those convicted have become hostages through a completely improper closed trial. We'll be hearing more about this affair.