Good News: Ten anti- slavery activists have been released. Three remain imprisoned. Read more here
Thirteen activists from the anti-slavery organisation Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania (IRA) had been sentenced to between three and fifteen years in prison.
Abdallahi Maatalla Seck and Moussa Ould Bilal Biram were sentenced to three years in prison with two years suspended for participating in an unarmed gathering and membership of an unauthorized association. They remain in Zoureit prison serving their sentences. Their expected release date is August 2018
Abdallahi Abdou Diop was sentenced to six months’ in prison for ordering an unarmed gathering and membership of an unauthorised association. He is still in prison and is expected to be released in January 2017.
They are Prisoners of Conscience and have been imprisoned solely for their peaceful human rights work to end slavery in Mauritania.
The activists were arrested following a protest that they did not organise or participate in. Since being charged, they have been allowed to contact their lawyers and families on only one occasion.
Slavery remains in Mauritania despite it being officially abolished in 1981 and recognized as a crime in domestic law since 2007. IRA-Mauritania and other organisations, including SOS-Esclaves, have been reporting and denouncing cases of slavery. The Mauritanian authorities often restrict the freedom of expression of human rights defenders, activists and organisations that campaign against slavery.