- Amnesty International has blamed Mauritanian security forces for its "persistent use of torture to extract confessions," especially from those accused of links with Islamist groups.
Last month, close to 40 people accused of involvement in armed terrorists attacks purportedly launched by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were detained incommunicado for more than 20 days. And according to Amnesty international, Mauritanian security hid behind the cloak of anti-terrorist law to inflict horrendous tortures on some of the detainees.
During their research mission to the West African country in February this year, Amnesty officials were told by former detainees how they were exposed to a form of torture called "the jaguar."
“During questioning, they tied my hands under my knees and put a metal bar under my knees and suspended me from the ceiling in the ‘jaguar’ position. Then they started to hit me,” one former detainee described this form of torture to Amnesty officials.
Some detainees also deprived of sleep and burned with cigarettes, the right body said, wondering why the prosecutor has failed to take appropriate measures against the perpetrators of these act, despite receiving complaints from detainees.
"These practices have been publicly denounced by the Mauritanian Bar Association and the Mauritanian Human Rights Association, but there has been no public reaction from the government about the allegations," Amnesty complained.
Mauritanian President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in January 2008 assured the Amnesty delegation that torture was no longer tolerated in the country since he took over power.
Mauritanian authorities are also blamed for detaining those accused of "crimes against the internal or external security of the state" for more than 15 days and denied them access to their lawyers or families as demanded by the law.
The country's mistreatment of terror suspects also runs contrary to the provisions of the revised Code of Criminal Procedure, which came into force after the new government was elected to office. The code outlaws "physical or moral ill-treatment"of suspects.
In recent times, Mauritania's peace and security have been threatened by terrorist attacks and in one occasion claimed the lives of four French tourists. Dozens of suspected terrorists are currently being tried by the courts.
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