Mauritania Passes Law Mandating Death Penalty for “Blasphemy”

By Hemant Mehta

Mauritania has long been one of the worst countries in the world for freethinkers. Those guilty of “blasphemy” have been threatened with the death penalty, which is disturbing on its own but even more so when you realize how blasphemy is always in the eye of the beholder.

But now that punishment will become mandatory.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union reports:

The National Assembly passed a law on April 27, 2018 that replaces article 306 of the Criminal Code and makes death penalty mandatory for anyone convicted of “blasphemous speech” and acts deemed “sacrilegious”. The new law eliminates the possibility under article 306 of substituting prison terms for the death penalty for certain apostasy-related crimes if the offender promptly repents. The law also extends the scope of application of the death penalty to “renegade acts.”

The law also provides for a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 600,000 Ouguiyas (approximately EUR 13,804) for “offending public indecency and Islamic values” and for “breaching Allah’s prohibitions” or assisting in their breach.

That law has prompted a coalition of groups to urge officials there to reverse the law immediately. They also referenced a blogger accused of blasphemy who has been sentenced to death, had his conviction overturned, but still remains in police custody.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. @OP- The law also provides for a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 600,000 Ouguiyas (approximately EUR 13,804)
    for “offending public indecency and Islamic values”
    and for “breaching Allah’s prohibitions”
    or assisting in their breach.

    I think this makes it clear whose denomination of “blasphemy” they have in mind, although, with many conflicting Islamic sects, it could be any flavour of blasphemy some malicious prosecutor or disputatious individual, wants to inflict!

  2. Doesn’t it ‘offend public decency’ to have laws calling for the death penalty for imaginary crimes? Does that mean anyone who writes such a law, votes for such a law, or enforces such a law, is guilty under that law?

  3. N_Ellis #2
    May 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Does that mean anyone who writes such a law, votes for such a law, or enforces such a law, is guilty under that law?

    Ah! .. But blasphemy is an “offence”which is only detectable by those wearing their god-delusion’s “right” kind of “interpretation blinkers”!

    (All those “false” [other] religions and sects , make false claims of “blasphemy”, which TRRrrroo believers will immediately recognise as from false prophets, and consequently are evil and wrong!) 🙂

  4. Mauritania is one of those countries I have no clue about including where it is although I had a gut feel it was Africa. Usually a safe bet for anywhere you’re not sure about. So I googled and read its Wikipedia entry. A desperately backward Muslim shithole, rife with government corruption, poverty, bigotry, torture, slavery, a legal system that functions with no regard for fair trial or humane imprisonment.

    However it strikes me that ironically many of those same accusations could be levied against the USA. It practiced torture under Bush and Trump still wants to. Gina Haspel knows all about that but still got elected to head the CIA. Politics is corrupt, certainly on the Republican side and heavily over-influenced by big donors and lobbyists. The legal system does not produce the same outcomes for blacks and whites and much of the prison system is inhumane, corrupt and/or run for profit. The police have a pretty much free license to kill, especially but not limited to black people. Religion is rife and poisons everything it touches. Health care is a joke by western standards and millions of people don’t have any access to it. Bigotry, racism and homophobia are widespread and encouraged by the current president. America is a country I would not want to live in or feel comfortable living in. That’s a pretty sad indictment for what is supposed to be the bastion of democracy and a shining light for the world.

  5. @ Arkrid Sandwich #4

    That’s a pretty sad indictment for what is supposed to be the bastion
    of democracy and a shining light for the world.

    I hope I don’t hurt too many feelings by pointing out it is really only Americans who ever subscribe(d) to that assessment. The Founding Fathers may have drafted and published a splendid upgrade to Magna Carta, but the country itself has never lived up to the fine sentiments expressed within.

  6. “offending public indecency and Islamic values”

    How abhorrent; offending public indecency and Islamic values with shameless public decency and unIslamic values, such as tolerance of other religions.
    Just disgusting.

  7. Creator of the entire universe, omniscient, omnipresent, all-powerful Allah needs
    help punishing people who upset him/her/it. This ignorant, not all-there,
    ineffectual entity is unable to respond personally because…? Needs help from
    humans to carry out his divine will because…?

    Blasphemy laws demonstrate with complete clarity the existential weakness of
    the human construct they profess to ‘protect’.

  8. Article:
    . . . “offending public indecency [sic] and Islamic values” . . .

    The pedant in me insists that something may offend against public decency and Islamic values, but it can only offend what can be offended, namely entities that are conscious of the decency and values in question. People are such entities. Public indecency on the other hand is quite another matter — whatever it is, everyone finds it offensive, except those who are indecent enough to deny everyone who disagrees with them the right to freedom of conscience and expression. The muddlemindedness of these proponents of laws against blasphemy is of course all part of the problem.

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