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Mauritarian authorities urged to protect women's human rights' defender

17:51 Jun 17 2014 Mauritania

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The United Nations human rights office today urged the Government of Mauritania to protect prominent human rights activist Aminetou Mint El-Moctar who has become the focus of a social media campaign encouraging anyone who “kills her or tears out her eyes will be rewarded by God.”

The activist has been targeted after the leader of a movement known as “Friend of the Prophet” issued a fatwa against her because she publicly demanded a fair trial procedure, in compliance with Mauritania’s international human rights obligations, for Mohamed Ould M’Kaitir. He is a young Mauritanian man who has been awaiting trial on charges of apostasy since January. Due to the nature of the charges, no lawyer wants to defend him making a fair trial impossible.

“The horrendous threats against Ms. Mint El-Moctar, simply for pointing this out, starkly underline the importance of her public call that a fair trial must be ensured, and illustrate how difficult that will be,”said High Commissioner.

“We remind the Government of Mauritania of its obligation to protect its citizens from threats to their life and safety,” the spokesperson said.

OHCHR also encourages the Government of Mauritania to finally adopt the draft law on civil association, which would strengthen the protection of members of civil society in circumstances such as these.
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