We previously discussed the Islamic extremists who destroyed priceless artifacts within Timbuktu in Mali. Now one of the culprits, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, pleaded guilty to destroying religious monuments in the ancient city. After destroying centuries of artifacts, al-Mahdi now expresses remorse before the International Criminal Court.
Mahdi, also known as “Abou Tourab”, was charged in March for the attacks between June and July 2012 as a member of the al Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Dine in Mali. So this is a guy who joined a bloodthirsty band of terrorists and methodically destroyed ancient sites, but now claims remorse? It is not clear how much such belated humanity should count for.
Mahdi could face 30 years and now insists, “It is also my hope that the years I will spend in prison will be source to purge the evil spirit that took me and I will keep my hopes high that the people will be able to forgive me … I would like to give a piece of advice to the Muslims in the world not to get involved in the kind of acts that I did because it will give no good to humanity.”
This case is a breakthrough in the fight against terror. It is the first time that the International Criminal Court has classified destroying cultural artifacts as a war crime. As we have previously discussed, ISIS has exploded and bulldozed whole historic cities. Now one has been forced to stand trial for his despicable crimes.