- Amnesty International says Mauritanian security forces have adopted routine torture as a preferred method of investigation, against woes for protection of human rights as the country's political brawl.
The newly released report, which is the result of two Amnesty International research missions in February and March and July 2008 has revealed exact means of torture and locations used to carryout such inhumane acts.
Amnesty International's Mauritania researcher Gaëtan Mootoo who conducted the investigations said torture is used against all categories of prisoners in the country, be it suspected Islamists, soldiers accused of involvement in the coup, including those detained for ordinary crimes.
According to the report, methods of torture include cigarette burns, electric shocks, sexual violence, the pulling out of hair and "Jaguar" where the detainee's hands and feet are tied together and the person is suspended from an iron bar while being hit and tortured.
The report also revealed accounts of victims who reported that torture has been carried out at night, repeatedly until detainees could confess to crimes they had not committed.
"The perpetrators of these acts of torture and ill-treatment include police officers, military personnel and prison officers. Moroccan security officers have sometimes participated in interrogations and torture, especially in investigations into acts of terrorism," Amnesty International statement said.
The report has also questioned the presence of Moroccan agents in Mauritania, though researchers were unable to ascertain the legal basis of their presence in the country.
Amnesty International representatives visiting the Dar Naïm prison earlier this year were greeted with the unbelievable spectacle of dozens of men pressed up against each other in one cell in the stifling heat. "In some prisons, we could not even get into the cells due to the excessive number of inmates. The stench of these cells, which were infested with vermin and ridden with fleas, was indescribable," Mr Mootoo said.
Analysts have said the situation has worsened since August when democratically elected president was disposed off, hours after he issued a decree firing the military's top brass including the coup's leader, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Rights organisation have also revealed that peaceful demonstrations have taken place in Mauritania demanding the release of the president and a restoration of constitutional order. However there are restrictions including arbitrary arrests to protesters.
Since August, the African Union has suspended Mauritania's membership and threatened to slap it with major sanctions, while a number of states, including France and the US, have frozen their non-humanitarian aid to the country demanding that democratic rule be restored.
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