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Lawyer: Mauritanian blogger once sentenced to death is freed

Posted at 7:41 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 10:41:30-04

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — A lawyer says a Mauritanian blogger who had been sentenced to death for comments deemed as blasphemous by authorities has been freed after five years in detention.

Mohamed ould Moine on Tuesday said blogger Mohamed ould Cheikh ould Mkhaitir was being accompanied by officials to a destination outside the country, likely for his security.

Mkhaitir was arrested in 2014 and charged with apostasy over a Facebook post that condemned the use of religion to justify discrimination against his caste. It was the first death sentence handed down for apostasy in Mauritania since the African nation’s independence in 1960.

An appeals court in 2017 changed that sentence to a fine and to two years in prison. While the blogger had already served the time, he was held in detention until now.