How inconvenient. Just as Islamic apologists are assuring us that slavery as practiced by the Islamic State has nothing — nothing! — to do with Islam, Muslim Mauritania strikes a blow against…anti-slavery activists. Has Mauritania been taken over by “Islamophobes” bent on making Islam look bad by linking it with slavery? Or does such a link actually exist, despite the best efforts of the apologists to obscure it?
“Mauritania court upholds conviction against anti-slavery activists,” AFP, August 21, 2015
A Mauritanian court on Thursday upheld a two-year prison sentence against three anti-slavery activists who were arrested during a protest against bondage in the west African nation.
Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, runner-up in the 2014 presidential elections and head of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), was jailed in January alongside two other activists.
In an open letter published after the ruling he vowed to continue his fight against slavery and appealed for the United States and European Union to put pressure on Mauritania to act against the practice, including stopping financial aid.
“From my dark cell I urge them to mobilize all legal and diplomatic means, including the suspension of all financial aid, to push the government to take real action to eradicate slavery as well as the racism and exclusion underlying it,” he wrote.
The three activists were arrested in November 2014 while protesting slavery and were found guilty of “belonging to an illegal organization, leading an unauthorized rally, and violence against the police.”
The two others convicted were Bilal Ramdane, an assistant to Ould Abeid, and Djiby Sow, a civic and cultural rights campaigner.
Sow has since been released on parole due to health problems.
“This is a step backwards for freedom in our country, an example of judicial authorities submissiveness to executive orders,” said defense lawyer Brahim Ould Ebetty, who boycotted the hearing along with his clients.
He slammed a “parody of justice” just two weeks after Mauritania adopted a hardened law to crack down on slavery which activists say is widespread in the West African nation despite being criminalized in 2007.
The new law declared slavery a “crime against humanity,” criminalizes a raft of new forms of slavery such as forced marriage, and doubles maximum prison terms to 20 years.
“The intensification of the crackdown on anti-slavery activists in Mauritania has no legal justification in a country which ironically just this month adopted a law indicating slavery is a crime against humanity,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s director in west Africa….