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Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, made the following statement on the provisional release of two bloggers in Mauritania.

"I warmly welcome the provisional release of the two bloggers, Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou, who were arrested last March for defamation against the President. I am confident that this provisional release will lead to all charges against them being dropped, allowing them to fully enjoy their freedom.

Mauritania will hold a presidential election later this month. I strongly encourage all candidates to pledge to protect and promote the respect for human rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association and to fight effectively and with adequate means against remaining forms of slavery.”

Background

On 22 March, Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou were detained for posting investigative articles on social media about alleged government corruption. On 27 March 2019, both were charged with ‘defamation’ under Article 348 of the Mauritanian Penal Code, punishable with up to five years in prison.