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Anti-slavery activists face possible charges in Mauritania

NOUAKCHOTT - Seven anti-slavery activists arrested in Mauritania after a protest to highlight the plight of two young girls

Six policemen were reportedly injured in the protest

Seven activists arrested for violent protest to highlight plight of two young girls.

 

 

 have been handed over to the public prosecutor's office, officials said on Wednesday.

The seven, arrested on Monday for violent protest, included the leader of the Mauritanian anti-slavery body the Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolitionism Movement Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid.

"Seven of our comrades have been handed over to the legal authorities," said Mohamed Ould Mahmoud of the group. A judicial official confirmed the information.

Ould Mahmoud said the group had told the authorities that their fight against slavery would continue "with or without him (Biram)".

He also said that the head of the group had suffered head and knee injuries in custody and warned that he would hold the authorities responsible for any mistreatment. He did not give any indication of how serious the injuries were.

The authorities have accused the seven, who were demanding the liberation of two girl slaves aged nine and 13, of attacking the security forces, injuring six policemen, and ransacking a police station.

Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981 but it still persists in some parts of the country.

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