Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

In December 2013, Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir wrote a blogpost criticizing his country’s government for using religion to discriminate against minorities. On 5 January 2014, he was arrested and, with no lawyer, charged with “apostasy and insulting the prophet,” and sentenced to death—a decision that was subsequently reversed. He has now been in jail for five years.

In a statement on its website, Amnesty International described Mkhaïtir as “a symbol of the Mauritanian government’s repression against freedom of expression” who “is in jail as a result of his brave determination to defend victims of discrimination and slavery in his country.” The organisation is urging the international community to “tell Mauritanian President [Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz] to free Mkhaïtir and guarantee his safety.”

In January 2015, the court convicted Mkhaïtir of apostasy and sentenced him to death. The prison detained him in complete isolation for more than two years until his appeal.

After several back and forth between the Supreme Court and the Appeal Court, the Appeal Court eventually quashed his death sentence on 9 November 2017 and sentenced him to two years in prison. Having already spent more than three years in detention, he was scheduled to be released shortly after.

However, to this day, the authorities still detain him in an undisclosed location. As Mauritania’s Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Action of Mauritania Cheikh Tourad Ould Abdel Malick stated in May 2018, he is “under administrative detention for his own safety”. Mkhaïtir’s health condition is critically deteriorating every day and requires medical assistance.

Mauritanian authorities should end the arbitrary detention and guarantee the safety of the blogger, Mohamed Mkhaïtir.

Help us put global pressure on Mauritanian President Mohamed Abdel Aziz.

Urge him to:

– Release the blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir and ensure his safety.

– Allow him full access to family members, his lawyer and medical treatment.

Amnesty International further highlights that “unfortunately, Mkhaïtir is only one of many activists who have been jailed in Mauritania for speaking against slavery and discrimination,” revealing that it “has documented over 168 cases of arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders since 2014.”

Read the statement on its website.

In April 2018, we brought news of Somaliland poet Nacima Quorane who was sentenced to death for advocating for a reunified Somalia.

Tags: , ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. He is currently nominated for the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Oyinkan Braithwaite Wins the 2019 Anthony Award for Best First Novel

Photo credit: CrimeReads

Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite has won the 2019 Anthony Award for her debut novel My Sister, the Serial Killer. Braithwaite […]

Winners of the 2019 Nommo Awards

nommo

On October 25, the African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS) announced the winners of the 2019 Nommo Awards. The award announcement […]

Editor’s Note | 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Volume II | Ebenezer Agu

Anthology

In producing this anthology, there were challenges we had not foreseen, mostly because the individuals involved lived in different continents […]

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Olumide Popoola, Mukoma wa Ngugi at Stimmen Afrikas Literaturfestival in Cologne, Germany

dsc5659

From November 6 to November 9 2019, 33 guests from 19 countries, including several notable African authors, scholars, other individuals […]

Romeo Oriogun’s Debut Poetry Collection, Sacrament of Bodies, an Interrogation of Queerness, Masculinity & Nigerianness, Now Available for Pre-order

Oriogun

In 2018, the Nigerian poet Romeo Oriogun was named an Institute of International Education Artist Protection Fund Fellow and a […]

20.35 Africa | Momtaza Mehri, Megan Ross, Nadra Mabrouk, Saddiq Dzukogi Featured in Forthcoming Volume II, Guest-Edited by Yasmin Belkhyr & Kayo Chingonyi

READ: 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry, Volume 2 Earlier this year, we announced a call for submissions […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.