General Sanogo has been on hunger strike
The man who led the 2012 coup that plunged Mali into turmoil, Amadou Sanogo, now faces a more serious charge of conspiracy to murder which carries the death penalty, Reuters news agency has reported.
Mr. Sanogo’s charge was changed after some 30 bodies were dug from mass graves around the former junta headquarters in Kati, a Malian town. Some of the bodies were in military uniform.
Mr. Sanogo, a general, was arrested and charged last November with complicity in the disappearance of dozens of paratroopers loyal to President Amadou Toumani Toure, the man he toppled.
The once feared military officer’s decision to seize power allowed Islamist rebels to seize large swathes of Mali’s desert north, an uprising that ended after former colonial power, France, intervened militarily.
Mr. Sanogo’s trial is seen as part of an attempt by the new government of President Ibrahima Keita, elected last August, to assert civilian control over the military.
A former defence minister, General Yamoussa Camara, and three other senior junta officials were also arrested in February in connection with the investigation.
Mr. Sanogo, a former colonel, was later promoted to a general before leaving the army. He started a hunger strike in March to protest against his transfer to the town of Selingue, 150 km south of Bamako.
His lawyer said the transfer left him deprived him of his family and legal advisers, and medical care.
Thirty-two soldiers arrested with Mr. Sanogo were released after they began a hunger strike in January for the same protest.
Authorities said 30 bodies were discovered, some of them in military uniforms, in mass graves near the headquarters of the coup leaders at the military barracks in the town of Kati, Reuters said.
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