MARCH 13, 2005
Posted: March 17, 2005

Mohamed Ould Lamine Mahmoudi, freelance

According to press reports and a Mauritanian source, police detained freelance journalist Mahmoudi after he interviewed a woman in the southern town Mederdra who claimed that she was kept as a slave by a family in another small Mauritanian town.

According to the Mauritanian source, Mahmoudi, along with two anti-slavery activists who also took the woman’s testimony, were charged with fabricating information and tarnishing Mauritania’s image. The state prosecutor said that three face up to four years in prison if convicted, according to The Associated Press.

Mauritanian authorities are sensitive to reporting about slavery and insist that the practice, outlawed in 1981, no longer exists in the country. But human rights groups say the practice still occurs.