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In response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in Mauritania releasing two anti-slavery activists, Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director said:

“The release of two anti-slavery activists, Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid and Brahim Bilal, who spent 20 months in jailis an enormous relief and welcome news for everyone who has been campaigning for this outcome.”

“This ruling should now provide an opportunity for the Mauritanian authorities to stop its crackdown on human rights defenders and release other prisoners of conscience, such as blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir, who have been detained only for peacefully expressing their opinions.”  

Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid is the president of the anti-slavery NGO Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), and was the runner-up in the last presidential elections.

He was sentenced on January 15, 2015 for two years of imprisonment along with Brahim Bilal and Djiby Sow for accused of membership in an unrecognized organization, taking part in an unauthorized assembly, failing to comply with police orders and resisting arrest. 

The Supreme Court requalified the facts to constitute an offense punishable by only one year of imprisonment and on that basis held that the activists should be released.