Annual Report: Mauritania 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Mauritania 2013

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In March, former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested as he arrived from Morocco. In July, the authorities stated that he had entered the country illegally and that they were considering different options for his extradition, including a request by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for alleged crimes against humanity in Libya. Mauritania's authorities finally extradited him to Libya in September, where he could face the death penalty.

Death penalty

  • At least six people were sentenced to death during the year.
  • In April, at least three people, Mohamed Saleck Ould Cheikh, Youssouf Galissa and Mohamed Lemine Ould Mballé, were sentenced to death. They were charged with attempting to commit a terrorist offence and being members of a terrorist group.
  • Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Ahmednah Ould Mohamed Salem's 2011 death sentence was
  • confirmed in April after a Nouakchott Criminal Court appeal hearing. He was accused of being a member of al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb and of responsibility for the muder of a US national.


  • Four IRA-Mauritanie activists were arrested on 11 January and detained for four days after they complained about a slavery case in Ayoun, a town in southern Mauritania. They were accused of attempting to resist law enforcement and to provoke a rebellion.

Migrants' rights

Migrants – mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Mali, Guinea and Senegal – continued to be arbitrarily arrested and detained on suspicion of trying to reach Europe. At least 4,000 migrants were arrested and sent to either Mali or Senegal.

  • In April, armed security forces arrested between 400 and 800 migrants, mostly from West Africa, in Nouadhibou. They were held for days in immigration detention centres in Nouadhibou and Nouakchott, and most were sent back to Mali and Senegal. They had no opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention or their collective expulsion.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Mauritania in June and July.
  • Mauritania: Activists held in unknown location (AFR 38/002/2012)
  • Mauritania: The families of 14 prisoners subjected to enforced disappearance for over a year have the right to know their relatives' whereabouts (AFR 38/008/2012)
  • Mauritania: Amnesty International calls on Mauritania to live up to their obligations after the ratification of two key international instruments (AFR 38/009/2012)
  • Former Libyan intelligence chief must be sent to the ICC (PRE01/145/2012)