A Malian writer and academic has been jailed for a year after publishing a book criticising the ruling military junta.

Etienne Fakaba Sissoko, 41, published a book last year which criticised the country’s military rulers and said that they used lies and propaganda to sway public opinion in their favour.

Sissoko has been in custody since March and will also have to pay a fine of 3m CFA francs, equivalent to about US$4 900. Sissoko was found guilty of defamation and of harming the state’s reputation.

The military seized power in 2020, with the leaders of that coup themselves being overthrown the following year.

The leaders of the junta have consistently missed deadlines to start returning the country to democracy.

Mali is part of what has become known as Africa’s ‘coup belt,’ a group of countries in West Africa and the Sahel which have been taken over by the military in recent years.

Critics have said Sissoko’s sentence is the latest in a crackdown on opponents of military rule. Sissoko’s lawyer said he had expected the outcome, but would be filing an appeal.

[Image: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay]