Mauritanian Government: ‘Death Penalty for Blasphemy, Apostasy to Go into Effect’

The Mauritanian Government has vowed to apply death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy, few days after a blogger, accused of the punishable crime, managed to secure his release.

“Every Muslim, man or woman, who mocks or insults Mohammed, his angels, books… is liable to face the death penalty, without being asked to repent. They will incur the death penalty even if they repent,” Justice Minister Brahim Ould Daddah said, according to the statement circulated on state-run AMI news agency.

The announcement, made late last week, came following justice decision early this month to free Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir, a blogger who saw his death penalty sentence for apostasy reduced to two years.

Mkheitir was arrested in 2014 for writing an article deemed offensive towards Prophet Mohamed.

The blogger also denounced marginalization and treatment given to his tribe Maalmine, blacksmith, in the name of the religion.

In 2016, a court in the second city of the country, Nouadhibou confirmed the sentence but requalified the offense as “disbelief” after Mkheitir repented.

The November decision reducing the sentence to 2 years in prison sparked public discontent after thousands of Muslims staged protestations asking for the sheer implementation of the sentence.

Showing repentance will no longer prevent the death penalty from being applied for blasphemy and apostasy, the statement noted.

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