Mauritanian blogger in prison for blasphemy; authorites do not release him even after jail term

There are numerous stories of bloggers facing the wrath of religious ultras and intolerant administrative/ social/ legal systems. The hacking of a number of liberal bloggers in Bangladesh in the last few years and reports now and then appearing about illegal detention of many bloggers in African countries - do they sound familiar?  

This is a report on a blogger who spoke against social evils in Mauritania four years back and is still paying the price for that. Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir, a Mauritanian blogger imprisoned since 2014 on blasphemy charges is not yet being released by authorities. 32 NGOs have petitioned the Mauritanian President for release of the illegally detained blogger.


Mauritanian blogger jailed
In 2014, the blogger wrote an article, 'Religion, Religiosity and Craftsman', in which he criticized the country’s caste system. He had condemned the discrimination being faced by black Mauritanians in the name of religion and had spoken about certain choices made by Prophet Mohamed. 

The conservative segments of the society wanted his execution, he was tried and was sentenced to death in 2014 for apostasy. The blogger is reported to have first argued that he did not intend to insult the Prophet and then repented before an appellate court. The court, in 2017, commuted the death sentence to two year’s imprisonment that ended on 9th November 2019. 

Cheikh is held in an undisclosed location and his family has limited access to him. He is not allowed to meet his lawyers and his health is said to be in bad shape. Yet the authorities have not released him.  

If you are keen to know how bloggers have been suffering over the year in the hands of authorities, courts and goons, you can visit chapters on bloggers' safety and blogs as mass media chapters  in The Manual of Blogging.

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