Mauritanian blogger, Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed Mkhaitir, was freed on 30 July following nearly two years of effective house arrest and 6 year after his initial arrest in 2014 for a Facebook post criticizing the use of religion to justify discriminatory practices.
Initially given the death sentence for apostasy in December 2014, his sentence was commuted to two years in prison by an appeal court in November 2017. While he should have been released, the many demonstrations calling for his execution that had been held during his trial lead the authorities to continue to detain him on “security grounds”, denying him access to his family and lawyers.
The IPA joined over 30 other NGOs in November 2018 to call for his release with his case being monitored closely by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which had raised concern about his health.
Ahead of his release, Mkhaitir made formal statements of repentance on Facebook and TV as the condition for his release after a meeting at the start of July between outgoing President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and several religious officials.
Since his release to an unspecified country in Europe, Mkhaïtir has published a short post through Amnesty International on his days in prison and the hope provided by Amnesty International’s support.