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Freed Mauritanian blogger arrives in Europe amid protection concerns

by Yolando B. Adams

A Mauritanian blogger who turned into these days launched after spending more than five years in jail on blasphemy charges has arrived in Europe, Amnesty International has stated.

“During five years in prison, I just saw the sun six instances,” Mohamed Ould Mkheitir said in a statement released by means of the rights institution on Monday.

“So a great deal has modified over the last 5 years and I am nevertheless adjusting to lifestyles out of doors of the prison. Now I am unfastened, my hope is to renew my education and return to highschool.”

Mkheitir, now elderly 34, changed into initially sentenced to demise in terms of a 2014 weblog publish that condemned Mauritania’s caste device.

In his submit, the blogger challenged decisions taken with the aid of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions during holy wars in the 7th century.

In 2017, his sentence become commuted to two years in jail, but he remained in prison whilst conservative agencies in Mauritania continued to call for his execution.

Mkheitir became released remaining week within the very last days of the presidency of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who has been replaced by means of the newly-elected Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

Free speech advocates and Western officials, who had denounced Mkheitir’s prolonged detention, welcomed his release ultimate week.

On Monday, Amnesty International said the blogger have to now not have been arrested within the first area.

The institution referred to as on Ghazouani, Mauritania’s new president, to respect freedom of speech.

“His government has to right away provoke a method to get laws criminalizing apostasy repealed,” stated Kine Fatim Diop, Amnesty’s West Africa campaigner.

“No one must be arbitrarily detained and charged, let alone sentenced to demise sincerely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

Early ultimate week, Mkheitir’s legal professional informed AFP information agency that the blogger changed into “now not in Nouakchott”, the Mauritanian capital, amid safety concerns following his release.

Amnesty stated on Monday that Mkheitir was “immediately taken to Senegal for safety motives” after he turned into freed.

He made it to Europe over the weekend, stated the rights organization, which did not reveal Mkheitir’s genuine place.

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