Mauritania court gives 20 years imprisonment sentence for slave owners

The court in the north-western town of Nouadhibou gave a 20-year prison sentence to Hamoudi Ould Saleck. His father – who died before the trial ended – received the same sentence posthumously.

Both were accused of “reducing to slavery” a family, two of whom were children.

A woman, Revea Mint Mohamed, was jailed for 10 years for keeping three slaves – one of whom was a 29-year-old who had been kept since she was a small girl.

Both cases had been brought by former slaves.

Rights group Amnesty International welcomed the convictions. It estimates that 43,000 people were still living in slavery in Mauritania.

It said that the courts had received 47 cases for investigation involving 53 suspects.

However prominent Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Dah Abeid cast doubt on the reports that Hamoudi Ould Saleck had actually been arrested, and called the case “a show trial by the government to stop criticism from the international community”.

Earlier this year, the African Union urged Mauritania to issue harsher sentences for the crime.


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