Mauritania: two jail via insults on WhatsApp

This is a first in Mauritania, two people were sentenced to one year in prison for treating other Mauritanian as slaves through insults uttered via the WhatsApp social network.

Abdallah Housseinou Coulibaly and Ibrahima Niang, both from the river valley, are the first to fall under the new law of repression of slavery. They each receive twelve months in prison and 250,000 ouguiyas fine, the equivalent of 500 euros.

They were found guilty of insulting by treating Mauritanian nationals as “slaves”. This is severe punishment, according to their lawyer, Master Kaber Imijine.

“For me, it’s very severe because it’s insults. Each of us can say the same word and should not be taken as someone who has practiced slavery or who has done something very dangerous, he says. We appealed and we decided to follow the procedures until the acquittal of our customers.”

In the camp of the civil party, they said that they were satisfied with the application of article 19 of the anti-slavery law. According to Master Bilal Dick, the victims’ lawyer, “the court was convinced and made a decision by conviction. We believe that it is the application of the law. I think it was perfectly fair. It is necessary to reassess the harm that this one has undergone”.

Only one of the convicts is now locked, the second is on the run.

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