A secondary school teacher convicted of “offence against the head of state” has been sentenced to two months in prison and banned from his profession after assigning his students an essay about the indiscretions of a fictional president.As EI reported on 26th June, the teacher had been arrested along with four editors and a journalist. Their arrests followed the publishing in privately-run newspapers of an essay assignment the teacher set his final-year literature students in order to explore issues of moral corruption. The editors and journalist were also convicted, but received lesser sentences, ranging from 13 days to a suspended sentence of eight months. The teacher was also fined 100, 000 francs (about 150 euros). EI is deeply concerned by these developments, and is investigating with its affiliate in Mali, the Syndicat National de l'Education et de la Culture. Mali’s president Amadou Toumani Toure is credited with helping to establish democracy in the country, but these recent events serve only to undermine this reputation.