The Mauritanian authorities must release three activists - including a prominent opposition politician - jailed today for holding anti-slavery rallies, Amnesty International said.
Police used tear gas and batons to disperse the protestors in front of the court who were demonstrating against the judgment.
The court in the southern town of Rosso handed down two-year sentences to three anti-slavery activists and human rights defenders, Brahim Bilal, Djiby Sow and Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, a former presidential candidate. They have been convicted of membership of an unrecognized organization and of taking part in an unauthorized assembly. Seven other activists were acquitted.
“The conviction of these activists for taking part in peaceful protests on charges which are vague and open to abuse violates their human rights to free expression and freedom of peaceful assembly,’’ said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa Researcher.