Mauritania Condemns Man To Death For ‘Insulting The Prophet’

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Mauritania condemned a man to death on Thursday for “insulting the prophet”, a day after the country opened the trial of an anti-slavery activist, a human rights group has said. Reuters report:

Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, 28, was arrested a year ago for writing an article about the Prophet Mohammad and the caste system, an extremely sensitive subject in a West African country with deep social and racial divisions.

He claims his article has been misinterpreted. The prosecution asked for the death penalty to be carried out in accordance with Islamic sharia law and recommended he be shot. Mauritania, a poor country straddling Arab and black Africa, last applied the death penalty in 1987.

Separately, a court in the southern town of Rosso began proceedings on Wednesday against anti-slavery campaigner Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeiday and six members of his organization for “inciting violence, disrupting public order, contempt for authorities and membership of a non-recognized organization”.

Biram Ould Abeid, a former presidential candidate, was arrested last month during a peaceful march. He could face a prison sentence of up to five years. Human rights campaigners and the European Parliament have called for his release.