Mark C. Toner,Deputy Department Spokesperson
The United States is gravely concerned about the harsh prison terms imposed yesterday on twenty individuals who were arrested following June 29 riots in Nouakchott because of the apparent deficiencies in legal representation of the defendants and the State’s evidence presented against the accused. Among those sentenced are thirteen members of the Resurgence of Abolitionist Movement, an organization championing the anti-slavery movement in Mauritania.
We are also dismayed by specific accusations that some of these individuals were subjected to abuse and torture while in detention following their arrests. The United States urges an immediate and comprehensive investigation into all credible allegations of torture, public release of the findings of this investigation, and appropriate prosecution of any individuals whom the investigation finds were responsible for such acts. We note that Mauritania enshrined its commitment against torture in the 2012 revision of the Mauritanian Constitution, and in April of this year established in law the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture.
The United States strongly encourages Mauritania to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and association, for all Mauritanians. We support fair trial guarantees, transparent and credible judicial processes, and respect for the human rights of all individuals. We will carefully follow an anticipated appeal process.
Source: U.S. Department of State.