Nouakchott – A Mauritanian blogger who had been sentenced to death has had his sentence reduced to a two-year jail sentence. This blogger was accused of blasphemy.
After being in custody custody for almost 4 years now, Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir will be released. According to a source the blogger was also fined $169 by the northwestern Nouadhibou court.
“It’s a great victory. The law has been pronounced and religion has been respected,” said one of his lawyers, Fatimata Mbaye.
This blogger is not the first to receive a death sentence. Three years ago Mkheitir, a Muslim in his thirties who is also known as Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, was also sentenced to death in December 2014.
He was accused of using his blog to question decisions taken by the Prophet Mohammed and his companions during holy wars in the seventh century.
His case led to protests from both local and international watchdogs. The groups of protesters include Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The head of Amnesty’s West and Central Africa, Alioune Tina commented on Mkheitir’s release as a “a huge relief” because he had “been jailed for nearly four years simply for peacefully expressing his opinions”