The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague decided on Sunday to release Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a former leader of Al Qaeda ally Ansar Dine, after serving his sentence, the agency said on Monday. Anadolu, Margot Tedesco, ICC Spokesperson in Mali.
According to her, the Appeals Chamber explains this decision by the “good conduct” he displayed during his detention, as well as the “remorse” expressed for his actions.
“Ahmed Al Faqi was indeed released on September 18, 2022. He has completed serving the sentence for the crimes for which he was found guilty before the ICC,” said Margot Tedesco, ICC spokesperson in Mali.
She further recalled that “Al Faqi was found guilty before the ICC judges of war crimes for the destruction of the nine mausoleums of Timbuktu and the door of the Mosque of Sidi Yahiya. This sentencing took place in September 2016, he was found guilty and sentenced to nine years, but judges decided that his sentence could be reduced to seven years. Since the time spent in detention is deducted from the sentence, that is why today Al Mahdi was released”.
Margot Tedesco, spokesperson for the ICC in Mali, specifies that “Al Faqi remains, however, still under the control of the detention authorities of England, his host country”.
As a reminder, in November 2021, the International Criminal Court had decided to reduce by two years the sentence of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, former police chief of Ansar Dine, an ally of Al Qaeda, sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment in 2015 for war crimes committed in 2012 in Mali.
Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi also apologized to the people of Timbuktu and the people of Mali for the crimes he committed between 2012 and 2013 in northern Mali. He also requested early release after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
“I am here before you today to express to you and to the whole world my remorse, my sadness, my regrets to the people of Timbuktu, to my fellow citizens, to my country Mali, for the crimes that I have committed,” said Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi.
In a press release, made public on Sunday, the ICC had indicated that “this sentence will therefore be served on September 18, 2022”.
The document underlines that the judges of the International Criminal Court “have taken into account several elements such as the social instability that could cause an early release in the North of Mali, the possibilities of resocialization and reintegration of Mr. Ahmad Alfaqi Al Mahdi and the cooperation he has shown since his surrender to the Court in September 2015”.
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