Posted 2012/9/5

Mauritania: UPDATE- Human rights defender Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid and six of his colleagues released on bail

Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid

On 3 September 2012, human rights defender Mr Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid and six of his colleagues were released on bail. All seven individuals are members of the Initiative pour la Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste en Mauritanie – IRA (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania), an organisation working for the eradication of slavery in Mauritania.

Earlier that day, an ad hoc petition for bail had been filed by the human rights defenders' legal representatives with the judicial authorities. The petition argued, among other things, that the defendants had never been shown a valid arrest warrant and that, while they had already been in pre-trial detention for several months, the case had not yet proceeded beyond the stage of investigation.

The petition, which was filed on the morning of 3 September 2012, received a favourable response at the end of the afternoon, and the human rights defenders were duly released a short while later.

Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid's family and friends welcomed the decision to provisionally release him, which allows him free movement and in particular to seek the medical treatment he needs as his health had seriously deteriorated during the prolonged period of arbitrary detention imposed on him (see Front Line Defenders urgent appeal, dated 3 September 2012: Deteriorating health of arbitrarily detained human rights defender Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid.

Front Line Defenders welcomes the release of Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid and his colleagues, but reiterates its call on the Mauritanian authorities to remove any conditions that may have been attached to the release and drop any outstanding charges against the human rights defenders.