A Mauritanian Blogger Who Allegedly Blasphemed Loses Appeal, Still Faces the Death Penalty April 23, 2016

A Mauritanian Blogger Who Allegedly Blasphemed Loses Appeal, Still Faces the Death Penalty

Mohamed Cheikh Ould M’kheitir (whose name is spelled various ways in the press) is a writer from Mauritania who’s facing the death penalty for something that shouldn’t even be a crime:

During December 2013, a young Mauritanian blogger called Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir wrote a blog where he defended the rights of his people in Mauritania, who are used and exploited based on their history when they were slaves.

In the article he referred to the double standards used by the prophet Muhammad himself when he dealt with the Jews and the Arabs. He said that the prophet killed the Jews but forgave the Arabs because they are his blood. In his blog, he tried to show how religion plays a role in the social hierarchy and discrimination between social classes.

The authorities arrested Mohamed Cheikh on 2 January 2014 and he appeared in court in December, which sentenced him to death on the same day.

For the past two years, he’s basically been on death row, waiting for the Powers That Be to move forward with his execution. His lawyers — who reported had to fly in from Tunisia because no one in Mauritania would represent him — have been trying to appeal the ruling.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union now says that his appeal has been denied:

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) has condemned the decision and called on the Mauritanian government to abolish the crimes of ‘apostasy’ and ‘blasphemy’.

[Said President Andrew Copson:] “To lock up and sentence to death a young person for questioning the culture in which they find themselves is not only a direct violation of human rights, it is a cowardly and ignorant act of aggression. We again call upon the higher court to overturn the death sentence and to pardon M’kheitir without reservation.

“And we again call upon the Mauritanian government to abolish the crimes of ‘apostasy’ and ‘blasphemy’ which violate international human rights standards and which violate Article 10 of the Mauritanian constitution, which explicitly guarantees ‘freedom of opinion and of thought’ and ‘freedom of expression’.”

M’kheitir can still ask the Supreme Court to consider the matter, though there very little reason to believe the justices will come to their senses at this point.

(Thanks to Faisal for the link)

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