Biram Dah Abeid arrested and beaten in Mauritania


We are writing to inform you of the dramatic situation which involved in Mauritania our fellow Biram Dah Abeid, president of the antislavery movement "Initiative de Résourgence Abolitionniste" (IRA - Initiative of Abolitionist Resurgence) and a senior member of our party. At the Barcelona General Council, last September, he had informed all of us about the unbelievable situation of slaver power and ideological and practical denial of basic human rights in the society and by some of the institutions of that country.
Biram was beaten and arrested on the morning of Monday, December 13 by police in Nouakchott, with a group of IRA militants who were demonstrating to demand the release of two Mauritanian girls, Salma and Neina, respectively 11 and 14 years old, forced into slavery at the home of a local bank manager.
Our friend was seriously injured, even to his head. The news spread rapidly via the Internet, what led to the mobilization of other human rights organizations, in Mauritania, in other African countries and in Europe. NRPTT members Matteo Mecacci and Marco Perduca, members of the Italian Parliament, have tabled an urgent interrogation to the Italian government, asking for its intervention. A similar initiative has been taken at the European Parliament. Meanwhile, Marco Pannella personally involved the European Union representatives in Nouakchott.
According to a pro-government Mauritanian press-agency, Biram and the other arrested people would even face the risk of a death sentence, as they might be accused of violence against the police (!). However, the party of the president of the National Assembly, Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, spoke in defense of the protesters and asked the judiciary to intervene and release the detainees.
We know that Biram is alive and in better conditions now. He has been treated and is assisted by an attorney. He should appear before the court and may be released within three days. At the beginning of next week, Marco Pannella, Matteo Mecacci and Marco Perduca, hopefully with other members of both the Italian and the European Parliament, will travel to Nouakchott in order to meet Biram and to strengthen the struggle of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty in Mauritania as well as in other African countries.
We'll keep you informed about the developments of the situation. At you can find further news on this case. At (17:12)

and at (21:00)

you can watch and listen to the audio-video recorded speeches by Biram Dah Abeid at our General Council in Barcelona (September 1-3, 2010), in French original and in Italian, English and Spanish translations.

Let's keep in touch! Fraternal greetings,

Marco Pannella, Matteo Mecacci, Marco Perduca, Maurizio Turco