Mauritania strengthens blasphemy legislation after blogger case

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Mauritania has moved to crimson meat up a legislation criminalising apostasy and blasphemy, after a court docket in the West African nation ordered the discharge of a native blogger who confronted the demise penalty for allegedly criticising the Prophet Muhammad.

An modification to Article 306 of the nation’s penal code will now spy the demise penalty applied to « every Muslim, man or girl, who ridicules or insults Allah », his messenger, his teachings, or any of his prophets, « even when [the accused] repents », in step with mumble news agency AMI.

The swap targets to « adapt procedures to fresh scenarios that weren’t beforehand taken into chronicle » when the legislation became as soon as first passed in 1983, said Justice Minister Brahim Ould Daddah.

Officially an « Islamic republic », Mauritania’s succesful machine is in step with a combine of French civil legislation and Islamic legislation. Beforehand, somebody stumbled on responsible of apostasy under Article 306 confronted the demise penalty if he or she didn’t repent.

Any person charged with apostasy who confirmed remorse might moreover very smartly be sentenced to as much as 2 years in prison and a elegant.

Blogger released

The swap comes after a court docket in Nouadhibou, a town on Mauritania’s northwest hover, ordered the discharge of blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, who became as soon as sentenced to demise for apostasy earlier this month.

Mkhaitir became as soon as arrested in January 2014 in relation to a net based post in which he argued that some of us in Mauritania account for discrimination on the muse of faith. 

A Mauritanian court docket charged and convicted him of apostasy for allegedly « speaking lightly » of the Prophet Muhammad, and handed down a demise sentence. 

Mkhaitir repented before the courts, asserting he by no map intended to disparage the prophet.

Mkhaitir spent plenty of years in the aid of bars as the case navigated the Mauritanian court docket machine.

On November 9, an appeals court docket in Nouadhibou re-sentenced him to 2 years imprisonment and a elegant of about $a hundred and seventy.

‘Day of triumph’

The ruling became as soon as welcomed as « a nice victory for Mauritanian justice », in step with his lawyer, Mohamed Ould Moine. « The judges revered Mauritanian legislation, taking into chronicle his regrets and repentance, » he in reality helpful Reuters after the hearing.

Alioune Tine, Amnesty World’s West and Central Africa director, said the decision marked « a day of triumph for [Mkhaitir] and his family, as smartly as all of us who campaigned on his behalf since 2014 ».

Nonetheless Mauritanian prosecutors appealed the decision to release him and dangle called for the demise penalty to be issued again, the Reuters news agency reported. 

Thousands of of us protested in the capital, Nouakchott, and assorted cities at some level of the trial, annoying Mkhaitir be attach to demise, Reuters reported.

Mauritania has now no longer applied a demise sentence since 1987.

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