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Mauritania: blogger's death sentence overturned

Friday 10 November 2017 - 2:11pm


21 November 2017 - Update: According to reports, the prosecution have appealed against the decision to release Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir. Reports also indicate that Mkhaitir remains in custody. PEN will continue to closely monitor Mkhaitir’s case and is seeking more information.

10 November 17 - PEN International welcomes the news that Mauritanian blogger, Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, who was facing the death penalty, has had his sentence overturned by an appeals court in Mauritania.

Mkhaitir has been in jail for nearly four years, and was convicted in 2014 for apostasy for a Facebook post about Islam. On 9 November the Court reduced Mkhaitir’s sentence to two years in prison and a fine of 60,000 ouguiyas ($170). He was released due to time served. Mkhaitir has been featured as a main case on PEN’s case list of persecuted writers. Several PEN Centres have campaigned on his behalf.

PEN Executive Director Carles Torner said:

“We are absolutely overjoyed at the news of Mkhaitir’s release. The overturning of his sentence brings to an end the almost four-year ordeal he has faced, simply for peacefully exercising his right to free expression.  Mkhaitir should never have been charged in the first place and now that he has been released, the authorities should ensure Mkhaitir’s safety.”