Mauritania

Death penalty for Sodomy; apostasy (no recorded executions).

Hundreds of Mauritanians protest over desecration of Koran

march 3, 2014

Hundreds of residents took to the streets in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott to protest in the early hours of Monday against the desecration of the Koran, an AFP journalist witnessed.

Police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators after they gathered to march on the presidential palace, demanding the arrest of four men in turbans they accused of seizing copies of the Koran from a mosque in the north of the city.

One of them “took four copies of the Koran which he shredded before throwing them in the toilet,” the local imam told AFP.

The Koran, the holy book of Islam, is treated with great reverence by Muslims and its desecration can cause grave offence in deeply-conservative Mauritania.

The country operates sharia law courts but the death penalty has not been applied for blasphemy since the 1980s.

A young Muslim is facing a possible death sentence after being convicted in January of apostasy and jailed for having written an article criticising the prophet Mohammed.

In February a man was arrested and sent for psychiatric evaluation after urinating on a Koran in northern Mauritania.

(Source: ahram online)

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National debate over death penalty in Mauritania

february 4, 2014

NGOs demand national debate over death penalty – An umbrella of Mauritanian NGOs on Wednesday called for a public debate on the death penalty. In a declaration issued in Nouakchott, the NGOs said the adoption of article 306 of the criminal code and all other laws that repress opinion, authorise the death penalty, mutilation of bodies and gender inequality breach the people’s integrity.
The NGOs, including the Mauritanian Human Rights Association (AMDH) and Conscience and Resistance (CR), asked parliamentarians and all compatriots to decriminalize criticisms of prejudices over caste, sex and ethnic groups.

The NGOs denounced the influence of Islamist groups on the entire Mauritanian opinion.