Activists around the world condemn Mauritanian courts decision to imprison 13 anti-slavery activists
Aug 20,Nouakchott: Human Rights groups from around the world have condemmend the sentencing of 13 anti-slavery activists by a Mauritanian court on Friday.
“By protecting those who support slavery while imprisoning those fighting to eradicate the practice, the Mauritanian government shows its disregard for basic human dignity,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “The government of Mauritania should not only unconditionally release the activists, but also investigate the use of torture in pre-trial detentio,” Freedom house said in a statement issued on Saturday.
The activists had been arrested in late June and early July after a protest against eviction by residents of a slum in the capital Nouakchott.The Nouakchott slum was home to many people belonging to the Haratin community- a "slave caste" under a hereditary system of servitude whose members are forced to work without pay as cattle herders and domestic servants.
Therefore this decison by the court has come as a smashing blow on Mauritanian anti slavery movement.Sarah Mathewson, Africa Programme Manager at Anti-Slavery International, while voicing her views stated that the activists were "clearly being targeted by the government for their work to expose and denounce slavery, still commonplace in the country".
Meanwhile, IRA Vice President Brahim Ramdane has called the verdicts a "parody of justice" and said the group's lawyers were deciding how to respond.
The Oslo Times International News Network