12. THE COURT OF TIMBUKTU

police2 - 12. THE COURT OF TIMBUKTU

The court of Timbuktu

After a week of waiting without any news, the police came without notice at 10 in the morning to take me from my hotel and I found myself in court to face charges.
At least here the justice moves fast, not like in Italy.

I waited for half an hour sitting outside the door of the attorney general when we heard loud screaming from his office. Two thugs jumped out screaming, punching, and kicking each other, while the head of the security guards tried to separate them. I immediately thought that the lawyer and an upset client were fighting, but it was not that way at all. Instead, they were two judges who were in a disagreement about an accused. The chief judge, [who was also?] the attorney general, then passed the rest of the day to pacify between them. Meanwhile, I, the poor defendant, sat outside waiting until the evening.

At the end of the day, the chief judge let me in and told me that it was late, and that I had to return Monday when he would make a decision on my fate. That same evening, however, he was on route to Bamako, summoned urgently to address the scandal about which the whole city was talking, the battle of the judges.

So, on Monday morning, his deputy received me. He listened to my explanation, and I presented him my permission to practice acupuncture. He wrote immediately on my folder with a red pen “CSS”: Classé Sans Suite, filed without result. I was then found innocent and released.

The inspector in charge of my case told me that I was very lucky not to have passed those days behind bars. It seems that the imams of the city lobbied the authorities to spare me the worst.
The imam of the Grand Mosque, a patient of mine, told police “this man works for God alone, he is a very powerful marabout, if he sends you a curse you’re all dead.”

The next day, I regained my equipment and my documents but, for almost two weeks, I was a prisoner in Mali, without a passport and unable to leave the country. It is a strange way to receive those who come to help.

I returned to the police station to present my certificate of practice acupuncture, a document that was sent to me just in time via a fax from Italy. The Chief of Police assured me, without flinching, that he had followed every part of my case, minute by minute, and had used all his influence to help me and to ensure the success of my case.

But was he not the one who brought charges against me, “sending to justice” as they say here.]

He also added that, in case of any future problems, I should not hesitate to come to him.
I’m not crazy enough to believe him.

The main problem remains: who reported me? I read the police report minutes before coming to court, though I refused to sign it. It stated: “Following the reports of a person who wishes to remain anonymous …” Who was it?

Previous episode: the Garden of the French

Next episode The manuscripts of Timbuktu

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