In May 2017, Énia was imprisoned in Mali for 8 months, and faces an additional 8 years of imprisonments for her whistleblowing work, for providing the Institute for War and Peace Reporting with documentation of abuses under UK occupation of Mali. Her attackers have been unknown to ICC. Énia’s husband, Remi Darkién, was the first Malian that I have known to have a whistle-blowing case handled by the ICC.
Énia, Remi and I talked on the phone this past Thursday. We live in Britain, and her husband is the first Malian to have a whistle-blowing case handled by the ICC. Énia will be forced to seek asylum here.
Both Énia and Remi have been wanting to migrate to Britain for years. Énia’s mother lives in Nairobi and she has a sense of urgency to reach that place.
Énia would be legally able to apply for residency in Britain. Énia wants to give herself the best possible chances of getting in, which is why she went on a hunger strike. This was something I really wanted to see her do.
Énia was very frustrated with the British authorities and they had refused her request for asylum. She thinks she did all she could to get asylum and we have to keep advocating for her.
“None of the Migrants’ Rights Act 2010 would enable me to achieve the residency status I need to have here in the UK,” Énia said.
It is unlikely that Énia and Remi will be getting settled and settled in the UK before her jail time is up.
“I will not consider returning to Mali under any circumstances,” Énia told me. “I cannot go back. I don’t have anything to be thankful for at all, and don’t have any good memories to take with me to my country after all the experiences I have been through. I think I may feel paranoid now.”
“Everyone in Mali considers you a traitor if you reported the violence. It is difficult to find work. It is difficult to return to your village. You risk being attacked and killed,” Énia said.
“I don’t like Malian people. They hurt my life,” Énia said.
I can understand why a Malian would feel threatened.
In April 2017, Énia was arrested on her way back from her reporting, on her way to her village. She was detained at a safe house, questioned for hours by six Malian policemen and then arrested.
When I spoke to Énia last year after her arrest, she pleaded for Malian authorities to investigate and make arrests in her case, but Malian authorities have refused to do so.
After the interview, her husband Remi Darkién called from Mali. He is unable to leave the country for several months due to ongoing Malian laws that prevent him from leaving Malian territory.