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Human Rights

Mauritania "blasphemy blogger" still in jail

Nouakchott is the capital and the largest city of Mauritania.
Nouakchott is the capital and the largest city of Mauritania. Alexandra Pugachevsky/CC/Wikimedia

A Mauritanian blogger who came to world attention after being given the death penalty for blasphemy is being held in "temporary detention" despite serving jail time under a downgraded sentence.

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Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir's case was taken up by international rights organisations after he was sentenced to death on 24 December 2014 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a blog post.

After he repented, an appeal court in November 2017 downgraded the sentence to a two-year jail term.

But Mkheitir remains in custody, even though lawyers say he should have left jail immediately as he had already spent four years behind bars.

On Wednesday, Mauritanian Justice Minister Dia Moctar Malal told the National Assembly that Mkheitir was in "temporary detention" and that "only the Supreme Court can rule on his fate."

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