Family of seized journalist Olivier Dubois calls for top judge to oversee case

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The family of kidnapped French journalist Olivier Dubois were on Monday waiting for French authorities to respond to their request for a top level judge to oversee what steps are being taken to secure his release.

Dubois, who has lived and worked in Mali since 2015, was seized on 8 April 2021.

The 47-year-old freelancer announced his kidnapping in Gao, northern Mali, in a video placed on social networks on 5 May 2021.

In the post he said he had been taken by the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to al-Qaeda.

After his abduction the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office (Pnat) launched an inquiry.

Last week, a Pnat team searched the home of the parents of one of the journalist's friends, said Laurent Bayon, a lawyer acting for Dubois' companion and son.

Official silence

Bayon told RFI: "I think things like the house search are worrying and I do not see what point they serve in the inquiry which is supposed to be bringing about the release of Olivier Dubois and finding out who took him.

"Only the opening of a judicial investigation, with the appointment of an investigating judge, will allow access to the procedure and, thus, understand the reasons that justify such acts," said Bayon.

Dubois' family has been critical of the official silence since Dubois' kidnapping.

On 8 April, a year after Dubois' seizure, the French president Emmanuel Macron said authorities were working to obtain the 47-year-old's release.

France's Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian said he understood the family's impatience but insisted silence was needed when dealing with the situation.

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