A thunderbolt in the Rokia Traoré affair, the singer returned to Mali in full proceedings. She left French territory despite the prohibition to leave the country issued by the French justice which was to hand her over to Belgium. The international artist was deprived of his freedom in a legal proceeding linked to the custody of his daughter between her and her ex-companion.
The artist post a message on his facebook page:
I AM NOT A CRIMINAL, I AM A MOTHER WHO PROTECTS HER CHILD
The Brussels Court of Appeal, while having the proof of schooling of my children in Bamako in the file which was submitted to them for the purposes of my appeal, found that they could not ask me any questions in order to determine my usual residence, this because of my absence at the appeal hearing that I was prevented from attending because I got arrested at Paris CDG airport on March 10, 2020.
Consequently the Belgian justice withdraws my right of appeal under the Belgian law of forfeiture in case of absence of the appellant.
While unable to rule on the competence of Belgian jurisdiction in this matter, the appeal judgment motivates its decision by incomprehensible arguments, two of which are very surprising:
1- In their judgment, Belgium judges considered unfortunate that Jan Goossens had to cover the costs for his defense. I am a mother in charge of two children, I have been asked to pay an alimony in favor of my ex-partner. who is already claiming 303,000 Euros, part of the amount that Belgian justice also requires me to pay him. Knowing that while waiting to get married (which we finally never did), we lived in two different countries, me in Mali with my two children, him in France, in Marseille. He was travelling to come and see us in Bamako.I am being hunted down by Belgian justice, I am prevented from working, and I too have to pay costs for my defense following the Belgian legal complaints that I endure.
2- This appeal judgment indicates, for the first time, how the Belgian police tried to reach me: apparently they called my telephone number without success. No date or specific telephone number is given. I had email exchanges with the police officers who were working on my case, as early as July when I filed my complaint, I am surprised that they did not, however, try to reach me by email thereafter instead of failed telephone calls attempts. My address in Mali is clearly indicated on my deposition.
Furthermore, just as much as the European arrest warrant exists to identify and arrest terrorists and serious criminals, there are tools through judicial cooperation and diplomacy to send a formal summons to a person in a foreign country so that the person can make herself available to a given justice system in another country.
The purpose of these attempted telephone contacts would have been to organize a video-conference, which is precisely what I hoped to obtain by filing a complaint in 2019, but now is the first time that I hear of this. And that comes to support the decision to deprive me of my right to appeal by charging me again without any proof of the charges imposed on me.
I am not a criminal, I am a mother who protects her child.
If you live in Paris you do not enroll your child in a school in Brussels, you enroll the child in Paris, and in case of problems you go to the French justice who is able to investigate, to have the elements to analyze and understand what’s the problem. Similarly, if you live in Bamako, you certainly do not enroll your child in a school in Brussels. The child who lives in Bamako is enrolled in a school in Bamako, and if there is a problem, you contact the Malian justice which is able to investigate the life of this child in order to obtain elements and assess the situation.
– At home, in Bamako, I received a summons to appear in court by email on May 1 with the obligation to attend or be represented at a hearing on May 6, 2019 in Brussels: I respected Belgian justice, I found a lawyer in 2 days to represent me in order to clarify that I and my two children live in Mali, not in Belgium.
– I kept on paying lawyers and plane tickets to hear a Belgian justice system located thousands of kilometers from my home. But despite the certificates in my files, despite all the material evidence that my children and myself live in Mali for years, each Belgian court decision was against me, with assertions without evidence from judges and Crown counsel in their submissions. In fact, arguments without evidence from the opposing party are simply taken up by the judges. I sincerely believe today that if I would not have responded to Belgian justice at all, it would not have been worse.
– I have been prevented from traveling and working for more than a year, this by means of pressure and blackmail to force me to bring my child in exchange of my freedom of movement according to the mood of Belgian justice. However, all I asked was a dialogue between parents about a problem concerning our child. This is all I wanted, this is what I asked my ex-partner for. A dialogue between parents for the sake of our child. But he filed a complaint in April to obtain the conditions for non-representation of a child transformed into “kidnapping and abduction” of my own child.
While I am taken hostage in Europe by Belgian justice, the Malian justice, in its decision to give me provisional custody of the child during the investigation, allows the father to see his child. He has not wanted to do so since March 2019. On March 10, 2020, after making sure that I am imprisoned in Paris, and that my right to appeal will certainly be cancelled as he had specifically asked for in his appeal, he goes on vacation for a few days, but not to Bamako to see his daughter, to Tunis.
I am a mother, not a criminal. The pressure, the abuse of judicial technical procedure, the threats of magistrates, work when it comes to criminals. But I am a mother who only asked a father for dialogue.
To see my legitimate approach transformed into an offense from the point of view of an incompetent jurisdiction of a country located thousands of kilometers from my home is an abuse of power which harms me, devastates me, of course. But I am a mother, no mother can hand over her child in circumstances of contempt, pressure, oppression.