RSF to register with French investigation into French reporter’s abduction in Mali
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) will register as an interested civil party in the French judicial investigation into French journalist Olivier Dubois’ abduction in Mali. RSF has taken this decision after learning from judicial sources that investigating judges have been appointed in France.
“The opening of a judicial investigation in France marks a new stage and unfortunately confirms that the efforts so far undertaken have not sufficed to obtain this French journalist’s release. RSF will register as an interested civil party in order to combine its efforts with those undertaken by the journalist's family. We need the justice system to shed light on the circumstances in which he is being held hostage.”
A Mali-based reporter for three French publications, Libération, Le Point and Jeune Afrique, Olivier Dubois has been held hostage for the past 21 months. He was kidnapped on 8 April 2021 when he went to the northeastern city of Gao to interview a local representative of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), an armed group affiliated to Al Qaeda.
Two judicial sources contacted by RSF have confirmed that a French judicial investigation was initiated in October. It has been assigned to Bertrand Grain and Jean-Marc Herbaut, two investigating judges with the Paris court’s counter-terrorism unit.
Only two videos of Dubois, filmed by his captors, have been released since his abduction. In the most recent one, on 14 March 2022, he asked his supporters to keep campaigning for him, and asked the French authorities to keep working for his release.
RSF has taken many initiatives since his abduction. They have included setting up a unit to coordinate with his family, with media outlets and with journalists who have been hostages in the past. They have also included organizing support rallies, unveiling banners in more than 20 French cities, projecting a huge photo of Dubois on the side of the Pantheon in Paris on 7 March 2022, and organizing a solidarity campaign with TV and radio stations.
Mali is ranked 111th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.