Malian extremist jailed nine years by the ICC for destroying shrines

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, centre, was sentenced to nine years in prison at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on September 27, 2016. Bas Czerwinski / AP Photo
Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, centre, was sentenced to nine years in prison at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on September 27, 2016. Bas Czerwinski / AP Photo

The International Criminal Court has sentenced an Islamist militant who destroyed ancient shrines in Timbuktu to nine years in jail.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi admitted to leading rebel forces who destroyed historic mausoleums at the world heritage site in Mali in 2012.

Judges at the court in The Hague found he had shown “remorse and empathy” for the crime.

It is also the first time a suspected Islamist militant has stood trial at the ICC.

Mahdi – described as a “religious scholar” in court documents – led rebels who used pickaxes and crowbars to destroy nine of Timbuktu’s mausoleums and the centuries-old door of the city’s Sidi Yahia mosque.

The court found he not only offered “logistical and moral support” for the attacks, but also took part in the physical destruction of at least five out of the 10 buildings.

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