110118Feature3Photo1.jpg[Mohamed Wedoud] Anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid (R) was sentenced to six months in prison for allegedly taking part in unauthorised rally.


A Nouakchott court on Sunday (January 16th) sentenced Oumoulmoumnine Mint Bakar Vall to six months in prison for enslaving two girls, ages 10 and 14, in the city's Arafat neighbourhood.

Last week, three human rights activists were handed down six month sentences for taking part in an unauthorised rally over the case.

The verdict against the rights defenders, including Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) head Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, was based on charges of assembling and disturbing the public peace, as well as using violence against police officers.

Ould Abeid recounted the incident before the court, claiming that what happened was an attempt to fabricate a story against the activists. According to the IRA head, they did not assemble but went to the administrative authorities, as activists usually do in slavery-related cases.

"We headed for the commissioner. We were 14 in number. We walked into the commission. The commissioner did not show any signs of displeasure. He sent some of his staff with us to the site of the crime. We were under the impression that we will be sent – together with the victims and the accused – to the palace police," he said.

"However, the commissioner's staff took us back to the Arafat commission. As soon as we arrived, staff in that commission personally attacked me. Some of my colleagues tried to save me. However, the police threw tear bombs at them and forced me to step into the commission. I was hurt in the head and my entire body was severely battered," he added.

Ould Abeid was doubtful about the intentions of the security forces.

"That case could have been handled the same way as all other slavery-related cases that were disclosed. We show support for victims. When the cases reach court, they are always closed by the public prosecutor. However, the Arafat commission had hidden intentions." MORE


By Mohamed Yahya Ould Abdel Wedoud in Nouakchott for Magharebia – 18/01/11



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