Back to top

Detention of anti-slavery human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid

Status: 
Detained
About the Situation

On Monday, 8 October 2018, 12 members of IRA-Mauritania were attacked by police during a peaceful sit-in for the release of anti-slavery human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid in front of the Mauritanian National Assembly. All 12 members, including Biram Dah Abeid’s wife, were taken to the National Hospital; three of the members of IRA-Mauritania suffered broken bones from the violent attack.

On 13 August 2018, Biram Dah Abeid was charged with “insurrection to violence and threats to people’s lives” by the court of wilayade in Nouakchott- South, Mauritania. He remains arbitrarily detained.

About Biram Dah Abeid

Biram Dah AbeidBiram Dah Abeid is the president of Initiative pour la Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste - IRA (Initiative for the Resurgence of an Abolitionist Movement), an organisation that works for the eradication of slavery in Mauritania. He is also the head of the Sawab party and candidate for the September 2018 legislative elections.

10 October 2018
Members of IRA-Mauritania attacked at peaceful sit-in for Biram Dah Abeid

On Monday, 8 October 2018, 12 members of IRA-Mauritania were attacked by police during a peaceful sit-in for the release of anti-slavery human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid in front of the Mauritanian National Assembly. All 12 members, including Biram Dah Abeid’s wife, were taken to the National Hospital; three of the members of IRA-Mauritania suffered broken bones from the violent attack.

Biram Dah Abeid is in arbitrary detention since 7 August 2018 in Nouakchott. His arrest coincided with the day the Independent National Electoral Commission issued the deeds of validation of candidacies for the upcoming national election. On 13 August 2018, Biram Dah Abeid was charged with "incitement to violence" and "threats against people's lives" by the Court of Wilayade in Nouakchott- South, Mauritania.

The sit-in calling for Biram Dah Abeid’s release was planned to coincide with the first session of the Mauritanian National Assembly. IRA-Mauritania members had organised the protest to bring attention to Biram Dah Abeid’s continued arbitrary detention, and to put pressure on the government to release him. Following a nonviolent march to the National Assembly building, members conducted a peaceful sit-in in front of the building.

Immediately after their arrival at the National Assembly building, police units approached IRA-Mauritania members, swinging at protesters with weapons and scattering the members in attendance. According to local human rights defenders, the police were heavily armed, and they did not attempt to disperse the sit-in peacefully before becoming violent. Participants were hit in the head, torso, limbs, and a gas-like substance was released into the crowd to disperse them.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the continued detention of Biram Dah Abeid and the violent repression of fellow human rights defenders who exercise their right to peacefully protest in calling for his release.

15 August 2018
Detention of anti-slavery human rights defender Biram Dah Abeid

On 13 august 2018, Biram Dah Abeid was charged with “insurrection to violence and threats to people’s lives” by the court of wilayade in Nouakchott- South, Mauritania. He remains arbitrarily detained.

Biram Dah Abeid is the president of Initiative pour la Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste - IRA (Initiative for the Resurgence of an Abolitionist Movement), an organisation that works for the eradication of slavery in Mauritania. He is also the head of the Sawab party and candidate for the September 2018 legislative elections.

On the morning of 7 August 2018, police raided the house of Biram Dah Abeid and ordered him to follow them to the police station. Biram Dah Abeid was able to send a whatsapp message alerting his colleagues that he was being detained. The human rights defender reported that when he asked to find out the reason for his arrest, the officers said it was a “decision from above”. His arrest coincided with the day the Independent National Electoral Commission – CENI issued the deeds of validation of the candidacies for the upcoming election.

The Initiative for the Resurgence of an Abolitionist Movement – IRA stated that Biram Dah Abeid is being prosecuted following a complaint lodged by a journalist he allegedly defamed.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the continued detention of Biram Dah Abeid and strongly condemns the charges against him.