Jan 14, 2013

Haratin: Absurd Impunity When Judge Brags About Slavery

A Mauritanian judge boasted publicly about owning 25 slaves and the policeman on duty humiliated the anti-slavery activists.

Below you can find a press release by the Initiative pour la Résurgence du mouvement Abolitionniste (IRA) Communication Commission.

Press Release

We at the Initiative pour la Résurgence du mouvement Abolitionniste (IRA) were informed that the president of our section in Toujounine (a neighborhood in Nouakchott), Mr. Baba Traoré, lodged a complaint for slavery practices on Saturday 12 January at the police station in Arafat 2 against Mr. Sidi Mahmoud Ould Hamadi, born in 1952 in Tamchekett, who said to the policemen he was a judge (Ghadhi) in Adel Bagrou (in the east). The man driving the cab with the two of them witnessed the scene that we present in this press release.

The occupants of the taxi had started a heated debate about the topic of slavery. The judge defended doggedly the complete legality of slavery and the absolute impossibility for an Islamic State like Mauritania to fight practices that, according to him, are part and parcel of Allah’s law. He stated loud and clear that he owned 25 slaves who currently all live around Tamchekett and that he was ready to repeat this statement in front of any public authority. This is when the IRA representative took the judge at his word and said he intended to lodge a complaint against him and dared him to come with him to the police station. Having confidence in the solidity of his arguments, the judge hardly hesitated for a second before accepting the challenge of the anti-slavery activist and the two of them drove towards the Arafat 2 police station with the taxi driver who acted as a witness.

After they arrive at the Arafat 2 police station, the anti-slavery activist was surprised by how reluctant the policemen were to register his complaint and to record the witness statement by the taxi driver. They just suggested they should go to the Arafat 1 police station. At the Arafat 1 police station they received an even colder welcome. The policeman on duty poured out insults on Mr. Traoré, such as “you are merely a slave”, “you slaves have become crazy…”.

As of now, the proslavery judge has not been investigated and has resumed his activities, invigorated by the support he received from the administration and the State despite the official stance and despite the pompous announcements about the application of the law criminalizing slavery and slavery practices.

In reaction to these events and to give a serious blow to impunity, we at the IRA are calling for a sit-in, this Sunday 13 January at 10AM in front of the Arafat 1 police station, to demand the application of the law against the policeman who humiliated our representative and against the judge who boasts about breaking the law.

The Communication Commission