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ICC sentences Islamic militant for destroying Timbuktu tombs

September 27, 2016 - NETHERLANDS

The International Criminal Court at the Hague sentences Islamic extremist Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi for the destruction of historical and religious monuments in 2012 in Timbuktu, Mali. The trial makes history as the first at the international level that focuses on the destruction of historical and religious monuments.

Al Mahdi faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, but prosecutors say they will seek a sentence of nine to 11 years.

He pleaded guilty on Aug 22, expressing" deep regret."

Al Mahdi led a group of Ansar Dine radicals, linked to Al Qaeda, who destroyed 14 of Timbuktu's 16 mausoleums in 2012 because they considered them totems of idolatry. The one-room structures that housed the tombs of the city's great thinkers were on the World Heritage list.

The militants were driven out after nearly a year by French forces, which arrested Al Mahdi in 2014 in neighbouring Niger. He was surrendered to the ICC on 26 Sep 2015.

Al Mahdi case: Judgment to be delivered on 27 September 2016 (ICC 24 Aug 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-08-31