In Mauritania, little hope of release for blogger Cheikh Ould Mkhaïtir | Africa | -

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In 2014, Cheikh Mohamed Ould Mkhaïtir, a young Mauritanian blogger, was sentenced to death in first instance for an article judged "blasphemous"Against the Prophet Mohamed Three years later, this verdict was reduced to two years in prison by a court of appeal.

Ould Mkhaïtir, who has served four years of pre-trial detention, was therefore to be released, but he is still in prison, with no contact with his family and lawyers. The Mkhaïtir affair is one of the difficult issues that Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz bequeaths to his successor, Ould Ghazouani, elected at the end of the first round of the presidential election.

Letter to the president

On the eve of the presidential elections, international organizations including the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Reporters Without Borders, have sent a letter to the Mauritanian president in which they demand to end the "the illegal detention of Mkhaïtir".

Little hope

Faced with the press, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz clearly assumed the maintenance of the blogger in detention. "We know that from the point of view of the law, Mkhaïtir must be released but, for security reasons, we can not put the lives of millions of Mauritanians"This exit left no hope for those expecting the release of the blogger before the new president took office.

For his part, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, former general and new president, did not pronounce on the fate of Mkhaïtir during the election campaign.

"Enforce court decisions"

Mauretanian | Präsidentschaftswahlen (Getty Images / AFP / Kambou)

The fate of Ould Mkhaïtir remains in the hands of Ould Ghazouani, the new president

His opponents, opposition candidates, for their part intended to enforce the court decision. For Mohamed Ould Maouloud, from the Changeons d'Ete coalition, the issue of Mkhaïtir should not remain in the hands of the president. It's not, he adds, "to the President of the Republic to release or keep in prison, it is justice to apply the lawAnother opposition candidate, Biram Dah Abeid, agrees.the court decision must be applied to the letter, and if that decision states that Ould Mkhaïtir must be released, it must be released immediately".

These two candidates having come out unhappy of the presidential election, the fate of Ould Mkhaïtir remains in the hands of Ould Ghazouani.


Mohamed Ould Moine, a young blogger's lawyer, has not seen his client for almost two years. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz could, according to him, be prosecuted for kidnapping. "Aziz risk heavy if Mkhaïtir or his rightful claimants bring against him before the Mauritanian justice or an independent justice in a foreign country ", warns the lawyer that "the sequestration of human beings, in our time, is a crime that we never forgive ".

For Master Monk, the justification for keeping his client in custody for security reasons is not acceptable. It can, he says, "to be able to please an extremist Mauritanian environment but it is not the mission of the president of the Republic because it is a decision which violates the laws".

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