Mauritania Toughens Laws Against Slavery With 10-Year Sentences

Mauritania toughened laws against slavery by making the practice a crime rather than an offense and increasing jail terms and financial penalties.

Violators will face as much as 10 years in prison and a 5 million ouguiya ($15,900) fine from five years and 50,000 ouguiya outlined in a 2007 policy, Justice Minister Sidi Ould Zein told reporters in Nouakchott, the northwest African country’s capital, on Thursday.

Special courts will be set up to try cases of slavery, he said.

Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, the president of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania, was jailed for two years on Jan. 15 for conducting anti-slavery awareness campaigns, threatening state security and running an unauthorized organization.

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