A Malian anti-terrorist court in the capital, Bamako, has sentenced two jihadists described as “dangerous” to death in a trial that lasted five years.
The jihadists, Fawaz Ould Ahmed, a Mauritanian, and Sadou Chaka, were charged with responsibility for the jihadist attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel complex and the La Terrasse Restaurant in 2015.
A third accused, Abdoulki Abdrahmane Maiga, who was tried in absentia, was also sentenced to death.
The two convicts did not benefit from any mitigating circumstances.
The Mauritanian, described as “dangerous” and considered to be very close to Algerian jihadist leader, Mokhtar Belmoktar, and his accomplice, were defended by court appointed lawyers.
The verdict pleased a large segment of the Malian population who feared that the jihadists might be released in exchange for a ransom or the release of other jihadists as recently happened with the release of opposition leader Soumaila Cisse and French hostage Sophie Petronin in addition to the payment of 10 million euros in ransom money.
The two condemned jihadists caused the death of 25 persons, including several French nationals, in the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel complex and the Terrasse Restaurant.
Besides being sentenced to death, the two would have to pay 10 million FCFA (20,000 dollars) each to the families of those dead in the 2015 attacks.
According to sources within the jihadist movement, the condemned men were members of the commando squad that in August 2015 attacked the Byblos de Sevare Hotel in Mopti which resulted in the death of thirteen persons.
Speaking after the verdict, their lawyer, Mamary Diarra, said the death sentence was a symbol because the death sentence had for the last 40 years not been applied in Mali. Though recognized by the Malian judicial system, the death sentence has not been applied since 1980.