Mali hands death penalty to French embassy attacker


A Malian court has sentenced to death a Tunisian man accused of throwing an explosive device at the French embassy in Mali’s capital in January, wounding two people, state television reported yesterday.

Like many countries in West Africa, Mali maintains capital punishment, but the sentences are rarely carried out and are often commuted to life imprisonment.
“In the terrorism case against Bachir Sinoun, who exploded a grenade outside the French embassy on Jan. 5, the accused has been sentenced to death and has to pay a fine of 10 million CFA francs (US$20,400),” the court said in its ruling issued Monday and carried by national TV on Tuesday.

Mali and its neighbours Mauritania and Niger are struggling to contain a growing threat by Islamist militants operating across West Africa’s remote desert regions.

However, Malian authorities have said Sinoun, who escaped prison in March but was rearrested a few days later, was acting alone in the botched attack and had no known links with Islamist militants.

Five Westerners have been kidnapped this month in separate cases, and another Westerner was killed as he tried to resist abduction.