Bamako - Malian prosecutors have charged 2012 coup leader Amadou Sanogo with complicity to murder over the discovery of a mass grave of loyalist soldiers, judicial sources said on Thursday.
Sanogo, who is already in custody facing accusations of complicity in kidnapping, was charged with the new offence after being interrogated before a court for the first time at the start of the week, his lawyer Me Tiessolo Konare told AFP.
Sanogo, whose March 2012 coup plunged the west African country into chaos, and several of his men are on trial for crimes including assassinations and abductions.
A week after his arrest in November 2013, a grave was discovered near Bamako with 21 bodies thought to be those of high-ranking soldiers loyal to toppled president Amadou Toumani Toure.
Four other bodies were found two weeks later, as investigators interrogated Sanogo and some of his allies.
A close aide to investigating judge Yaya Karembe, who placed Sanogo in custody in late 2013, confirmed that the new charge, which carries a possible death sentence, related to the discoveries.
Sanogo's coup toppled what had been heralded as one of the region's most stable democracies and precipitated the fall of northern Mali to al-Qaeda-linked groups until a French-led military operation forced them out.
In the months after the coup and a failed counter-coup in April 2012, Sanogo's then-headquarters in Kati were the scene of abuses and killings carried out against soldiers seen as loyal to Toure.
Politicians, journalists and civil society leaders were also victims of the junta's brutality. - AFP