Haratin: IRA Accuses Mauritanian Justice System of Obedience to Executive
IRA-Mauritania has published a press release condemning the imprisonment of its President, Biram Dah Abeid, and Vice President, Brahim Bilal Ramdane, on the grounds that their trial was motivated by political concerns, without real legal basis. The two men were arrested on 11 November 2014, and were sentenced to two years in prison in January 2015. IRA calls for their release, and calls foreign diplomats in the country to bear witness to the abuses that the Mauritanian justice system is perpetrating. IRA is a group fighting to end slavery in Mauritania, where up to 4% of the population are currently enslaved.
The full text of the press release is below:
IRA President, Biram Dah Abeid, and Vice President, Brahim Bilal Ramdane, were arbitrarily arrested, tried and imprisoned, for simply denouncing the injustice concerning slavery. They were subsequently illegally transferred to the prison of Aleg, which is not under the responsibility of Nouakchott appeal court, where the detainees had appealed the ruling. All of this demonstrates that the trial, which was held in Rosso and led to the verdict of January 15 [condemning Abeid and Ramdane to two years imprisonment], was rather political than legal.
We want to remind everyone that the case file was arbitrarily assigned to the Appeal Court of Aleg, which was newly established and had little understanding of the charges; these charges could not be more ridiculous, brought against prisoners of conscience.
Faced with this situation, IRA-Mauritania:
- Reiterates its demand to the Mauritanian authorities to put an end to the arbitrary detention of our leaders Biram Dah Abeid and Brahim Bilal Ramdane, sequestered at Aleg prison for more than 240 days.
- Calls the representatives of diplomatic missions of friendly countries in Mauritania to bear witness to the serious violations of prisoners' rights caused by the Mauritanian justice system’s obedience to the orders of the executive.
- Reiterates once again to the Mauritanian judicial authorities that the appeal hearing has to take place within the periods prescribed by the Criminal Code, and that this must be done in a legally competent court.
Nouakchott July 30, 2015