By Christopher Brodsky
Rabat – Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir, a blogger from Mauritana, is facing the death penalty after his article condemniing religious discrimination against ethnic minorities was criticized for blasphemy.
Mauritania’s Forum of Imams and Ulemas claimed Mkhaitir should be executed in accordance with “the law of God.”
Reuters reported on Sunday the following statement from Mauritania’s religious authorities, Mauritania’s Forum of Imams and Ulemas demands “that the competent authorities apply the law. Kill him and bury him in conformity with the law of God.”
Mkhaitir was arrested in 2014 following the publication of an article that was shortly thereafter removed for allegedly offending the Prophet Muhammad.
Mkhaitir has since apologized, yet Mauritania’s Supreme Court has the final say in determining if the blogger has expressed sincere regret.
BBC reported in an article on Monday that slavery, as well as religious and racial discrimination, are highly contentious issues and products of a stringent caste system with deep social and racial divisions in Mauritania.
Despite a law in 1981 banning the practice of slavery, observers from Freedom Now and other international human rights organizations argue it is still widely practiced, especially for children born into slavery. Recent legal action has classified slavery a “crime against humanity” in Mauritania.