Rabat - Mauritianian journalist Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir reportedly was sentenced to death on Thursday after a court ruled that he had insulted the Prophet Muhammad in one of his articles.
Rabat – Mauritianian journalist Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir reportedly was sentenced to death on Thursday after a court ruled that he had insulted the Prophet Muhammad in one of his articles.
On Thursday, the court in the northwestern city of Nouadhibou sentenced Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, 30, to death for writing an article that was interpreted by judges as critical of the Prophet Mohammed.
The AFP news agency cited a judicial source who said that the defendant fainted when the ruling was read out in court. He was subsequently revived and taken to prison. It was not immediately clear whether he intended to appeal the sentence.
The Middle East news agency quoted the representative of the Mauritanian Association of National Lawyers in Nouadhibou, Sidi Mohamed Ould Altmin, as saying that “after long deliberations lasting several hours, the court sentenced the defendant to death because he had pleaded guilty to the crime of apostasy.”
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was arrested a year ago on charges of apostasy “for speaking lightly of the Prophet Mohammed” in an article that was published briefly on several Mauritanian websites.
The journalist had questioned some of the decisions the prophet had made during the holy wars. He also said that Mauritania allows a discriminatory caste system, an extremely delicate subject in a country with deep social and racial divisions.
The journalist, on the other hand, denied these accusations during the trial, and said that his article has been misinterpreted, stressing that it was “not his intention to harm the prophet.”
The journalist asked for leniency on grounds that he was repentant. However, the journalist’s pleas were ignored: the judge agreed to the prosecutor’s request for the death penalty.