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Cablegate: Malians Release Five Child Trafficking Suspects

VZCZCXRO3885
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHBP #0707 2181437
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051437Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9512
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAMAKO 000707

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL
DEPT FOR G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KCRM PGOV KJUS ML
SUBJECT: MALIANS RELEASE FIVE CHILD TRAFFICKING SUSPECTS
PENDING TRIAL

REF: A. BAMAKO 00312
B. 07 BAMAKO 00717

1. On June 20 Malian judicial authorities the western town
of Kita released three individuals arrested in March for
allegedly trafficking 26 children (Ref. A). The individuals
were released on their own recognizance in advance of their
trial date, which has not yet been set. The public
prosecutor in Kita, Mahamoud Mauloud Najim, told the Embassy
he believed the trial would occur sometime this year. The
three individuals provided local authorities with addresses
and telephone numbers in Kita where they could be summoned
once the trial has been scheduled. Mr. Najim said only one
of the accused is actually from the town of Kita.

2. The Embassy learned of the individuals' release via a
local NGO that cares for child trafficking victims. The
National Direction for the Promotion of Children and Families
- which handles child trafficking issues for the Malian
Government under the authority of the Ministry for the
Promotion of Women, Children and the Family (MPFEF) - was
unaware of the decision by judicial authorities in Kita until
so informed by the Embassy. MPFEF officials in the regional
capital of Kayes subsequently told the National Director for
the Promotion of Children and Families that just one of the
three suspects had been released. The National Director,
however, admitted to the Embassy that information provided by
Mr. Najim regarding the status of the three individuals was
likely more accurate than details forwarded from the MPFEF
office in Kayes. The National Director told the Embassy he
was "as surprised" as we were to learn that the three
individuals had been released from prison after spending only
a few months in jail.

3. Two individuals from Cote d'Ivoire who were arrested in
the southern town of Sikasso in March 2007 for allegedly
trafficking 46 young men and children (Ref. B) were also
released on their own recognizance in June or July 2008
pending the setting of a trial date. Despite contacting
several judicial officials in Sikasso, the Embassy has been
unable to obtain any information regarding the court's
decision to release the two Ivoirian suspects. On August 5
the public prosecutor in Sikasso confirmed to the Embassy
that the individuals had indeed been released but was unable
to provide further information.

4. We continue to press Malian judicial authorities and
MPFEF officials for an accounting of why trafficking suspects
in Kita and Sikasso were released. We will report on the
steps the Malian government is taking to bring these
individuals to trial and prevent them from disappearing
septel.
LEONARD

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