Mauritania protesters call for jailed activists’ release

NOUAKCHOTT (AA) – Hundreds of Mauritanians staged a protest on Thursday to demand the release of three anti-slavery activists facing riot and vandalism charges in capital Nouakchott.

Protesters gathered outside a court complex where the three activists appeared before judges, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.

Protesters chanted slogans against slavery and demanded justice for those affected by the phenomenon.

Last November, Brahim Bilal, Djiby Sow and Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid – the latter of whom is a former presidential candidate – were arrested during an anti-slavery demonstration that was marred by clashes with security forces.

The three were later charged with “unauthorized assembly” and “incitement.”

Mauritania officially abolished slavery in 1981. The practice has persisted, however, due to a lack of legislation criminalizing the practice.

In 2007, the Mauritanian authorities passed a law calling for the prosecution of slaveholders.

Nevertheless, the number of slaves in the North African country has been estimated at 600,000 by the “SOS Slavery” organization, while the Global Slavery Index puts the number at some 140,000.

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