NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA – Nearly six years after his arrest, and two years after he becomes legally let out, Mauritanian lawyers and international rights companies are calling for authorities to release blogger Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mkhaitir.

Citizen journalist and blogger Mkhaitir turned into arrested in 2013 and sentenced to death for what the nation knew as blasphemy after he wrote a blog publish condemning the usage of faith to justify racial discrimination.

In 2017, a Mauritanian courtroom commuted Mkhaitir’s sentence to two years — which he had already served, legally releasing him. However, he has remained detained in an undisclosed place.

“He is now not officially, legally in jail,” Fatimata M’Baye, Mkhaitir’s legal professional, instructed VOA. “Today, given that November ninth, 2017, he is detained in an undisclosed location — a place even we, his legal professionals, do not know.”

M’Baye stated that more than one requests to peer her customer were denied. Mkhaitir, 35 and a father of one toddler, has not had any communique together with his family both.

“The handiest human beings who have spoken with him are the people who bring him his meals,” M’Baye said.

Numerous human rights agencies have called on Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who’s due to step down in coming months, to release him. But Arnaud Froger, head of the Africa desk at Reporters Without Borders, says the case is indicative of declining press freedom within the Sahara desert usa.

“This case of Mohamed Mkhaitir is very symbolic of what’s happening in Mauritania as a long way as press freedom goes,” Frogger informed VOA. “The USA’s ranked ninety-four in our press freedom index and registered a completely large drop in locations inside the remaining index, mainly due to the fact the outgoing president has refused to launch Mohamed Mkhaitir.”

Mkhaitir’s first trial in 2013 sparked protests by using Islamists in the capital calling for his loss of life. The submit for which he was arrested criticized the usage of religion to shield an inflexible caste system in Mauritania.

Mkhaitir is of the Haratin ethnicity, every now and then called black Maurs. The Haratin face systematic discrimination as extreme as contemporary slavery — a problem the Mauritanian authorities asserts not exists.

Protecting Mkhaitir?

Since the courtroom commuted Mkhaitir’s sentence in 2017, the president has argued that Mkhaitir ought to be stored in detention for his very own safety, and for the safety of the Mauritanian human beings.

“We’ve been advised, no, it is not only for his safety, but it’s also for the safety of the 3 million or 4 million human beings of Mauritania — that his launch might be a hazard to the steadiness of the usa,” M’Baye stated. “I say that … I do not apprehend. I don’t recognize.”

Her disbelief is shared by means of rights groups.

“That you preserve a blogger behind bars to make certain his personal protection and the protection of Mauritanians is each outrageous and fake. That the stress positioned by means of Islamists on this situation can’t justify preserving someone in detention no matter the courtroom’s decision,” Froger said.

Reporters Without Borders is one among eleven organizations, inclusive of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, that signed a letter to Abdel Aziz closing week calling for Mkhaitir’s launch.

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