Mauritania. In January, Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid and two other slavery opponents were sentenced to two years in prison for being members of an illegal organization and for leading an unauthorized demonstration and perpetrating violence against the police. According to COUNTRYAAH, Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania which is located in Western Africa. The three were arrested in November 2014. Abeid, who became second in the 2014 presidential election, leads the organization Initiative pour la Resurgence du mouvement Abolitioniste, which combats slavery in Mauritania. Although slavery was formally abolished in 1981 and became punishable in 2007, Mauritania has in practice remained the country in the world where the largest proportion of the population lives as slaves.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Mauritania country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In August, Parliament passed a new law that extends the concept of slavery to include, among other things, forced marriage. At the same time, the maximum penalty for violating the law was increased from 10 to 20 years in prison. The decision did not affect the judgments of Abeid and his fellow prisoners; on the contrary, the prison sentence was determined by a court. In December, the government decided to set up three special courts with the task of dealing with slavery issues.
In 2003, Taya was forced to leave the presidential palace after violent clashes with rebellious soldiers in Nouakchott. The government had secured enmity with several Islamic countries, having built close relations with Israel since 1984. However, troops loyal to the incumbent president eventually regained control of the capital. That same year, the president was re-elected with 67% of the vote and Sghair Ould M’Bareck took over the prime ministerial post. The Deputy Director of the Interior Ministry, Abdi Ould Horma, stated that all necessary steps had been taken to ensure open and fair elections and that the presence of foreign election observers had therefore been superfluous. The opposition repeated the allegations of electoral fraud.
In December, ex-President Khouna Ould Haidalla was given 5 years of his sentence for allegedly organizing a coup d’état to overthrow the Thai government. Haidalla refused to attend such events and had been detained since November 9. He was released 2 days before the election.
In August 2004, soldiers from the Mauritanian navy were arrested on suspicion of planning a coup. Police Chief Sidi Ould Riha stated that the plans had been supported by Burkina Faso, who had supported the soldiers with money and infrastructure. The month after, the government declared it had hindered another coup attempt. Acc. Interior Minister Mohamed Ghali Ould Cherif Ahmed was talking about the third coup attempt in 15 months.
In October, Mauritania received $ 12.9 million. Euro from the EU for the fight against the grasshoppers, which in previous months had ravaged the border areas against the Sahel. Acc. FAO estimates 40% of the country’s crops and pasture had already been destroyed as a result of the grasshopper invasion. FAO’s forecasts for the further development of the plague were negative as it could spread to the rest of the country.
At the beginning of August 2005, the military conducted a coup d’état and announced the formation of a military council to lead the country for the next 2 years, thus paving the way for the establishment of an “open and transparent democracy”. President Taya had become increasingly unpopular day by day because of his radical assaults on supposed Islamists and his support for the United States and Israel. He himself was during the coup in Saudi Arabia for the funeral of King Fahd, and he was granted political asylum in Qatar. The coup makers created a Military Council for Justice and Democracy under the leadership of Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall. However, they did not remove the Prime Minister and his government, but they withdrew on 7 August. The coup makers then appointed Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar as new prime minister. Many observers pointed out that another motive for the coup could be the country’s recent entry into the oil-producing countries, and the economic benefits the new situation affords the rulers. This could also be the reason for the many coup attempts in previous months.
Although slavery was officially abolished in 1981 and the official position is that it is no longer used in the country, in May 2006 military junta leader Ely Uld Mohamed Vall admitted that slavery still exists in the country and he declared himself in favor of eradicating this practice. “I protest against any form of slavery and ask all Mauritanian people to do the same,” Vall declared.