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UA 117/91 - Mauritania: Torture / health concern: Lt Almami Chouaibou Diagana, Adjutant Moussa Gueye, Adama N'diaye, Lt Cheikhna Tandia, Lt Siguino Traore and at least 70 others

, Index number: AFR 38/003/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 38/03/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 117/91 Torture/Health concern 28 March 1991
MAURITANIA: Lt Almami Chouaïbou DIAGANA, aged 31
Adjudant Moussa Guèye
Lt Cheikhna TANDIA, aged 31
Lt Siguino TRAORE, aged 33
and at least 70 others
The five men named above are among an unknown number of untried political detainees,
including civilians and army personnel, who are believed to be held in military barracks
in or near Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. Amnesty International is concerned by reports
that some have been tortured and that the detainees are being held in extremely poor
conditions and are not receiving adequate medical treatment.
Amnesty International has learned that some 50 prisoners were being detained in
J'Reida army barracks, near Nouakchott, at the end of February. Some were released on
government orders early in March, but others, including Lt Chouaïbou DIAGANA and Adjudant
Moussa Guèye, still remain in detention in harsh conditions. Adjudant Moussa Guèye
is reported to be in a critical situation, having sustained injuries to his ribs as
a result of torture. Most of the other detainees still held in J'Reida are also reported
to have been tortured. They are said to have been stripped naked, to have had their
hands tied behind their backs, and then to have been hosed with cold water and beaten
with wire cables. Investigating officials allegedly subjected detainees to the "jaguar"
torture, burnt them with burning coals, put tobacco powder in their eyes and buried
them in sand up to the neck. The detainees are said to be kept permanently chained
in small cells with no toilet facilities. Army officers are held in individual cells
while groups of 11 or 13 non-commissioned officers are detained together. Some are
held in underground cells. The J'Reida barracks is located some 600 yards (500 metres)
from the sea, and it becomes very cold at night.
In Nouadhibou area, an unknown number of detainees are believed to be held in
harsh conditions, including 75 at the Brigade de terre barracks in Nouadhibou whose
lives are said to be in danger.
Amnesty International has received compelling information that as many as 212 people
have died or been killed in detention in the Nouakchott and Nouadhibou areas since
November 1990, including 30 who apparently have died under torture in J'Reida between
November 1990 and January 1991.
In November and December 1990 as many as 3,000 people, all members of Mauritania's
black African ethnic groups, were arrested and questioned about the discovery of an
alleged plot to overthrow the government. Some were released within a few days or several
weeks but at the end of December 1990 about 1,500 people were believed to be detained
incommunicado. The government announced that those involved in the alleged plot would
be brought to trial but none are known to have been charged with offences. Under the
terms of Mauritania's law, particularly the Code of penal procedure, suspects arrested
in connection with offences related to the security of the State may be detained for
questioning for up to 30 days. After this period they must be referred to the Procuracy
to be remanded in custody formally or released. At the end of February and early March
1991 an unspecified number of detainees were released without charge or trial.
Since April 1989, Mauritania has been experiencing a serious human rights crisis
as a result of action taken by the predominantly Arab-Berber government to expel thousands
of people, mostly members of the black Hal-pulaar ethnic group, to neighbouring
countries. Others have been victims of torture, extrajudicial executions and
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telexes/telegrams/express and airmail letters, in French or Arabic
if possible:
- expressing grave concern about reports that political detainees held in J'Reida and
other detention centres have been tortured and that others have been extrajudicially
executed or have died as a result of torture;
- calling for an urgent, thorough and impartial investigation into these allegations;
- calling for safeguards against torture and ill-treatment of prisoners to be implemented
and rigorously enforced;
- seeking information about the detainees named above, including their state of health
and legal status, and what medical treatment is available to them and other detainees;
- urging the immediate, unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience and for
all other political detainees to be brought to trial promptly and fairly on recognizably
criminal charges or released.
Son Excellence Monsieur le Colonel Maaouya Ould Sid' Ahmed TAYA
Président du Comité militaire de salut national,(CMSN), Chef de l'Etat
La Présidence
B.P. 184
Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
Faxes: + 222 2 52636
Telegrams: President Ould Taya, Nouakchott, Mauritanie
Telexes: 5580 PRIM MTN
Monsieur Adama Samba Sow
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
Faxes: + 222 2 52860 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Nouakchott, Mauritanie
Telexes: 585 MINAF MTN (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Monsieur le Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Lemine Ould N'Diayane
Secrétaire permanent du Comité militaire de salut national
La Présidence
BP 184
Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
Telegrams: Sec. Comite militaire Ould N'Diayane, Nouakchott, Mauritanie
Telexes: 566 MINDEF MTN (via Ministry of Defence)
M. le Commandant Cheikh Sid'Ahmed Ould Baba
Ministre de l'Intérieur, des Postes et des Télécommunications
Ministère de l'Intérieur, des Postes et des Télécommunications
B.P. 195
Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
Telexes: 5844 MTN MTN
- M. Hasni Ould Didi, Ministre des Affaires étrangères et de la Coopération,
Ministère des Affaires étrangères, B.P. 230, Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
- Mauritanie Demain, BP 4070, Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
- Ligue mauritanienne des droits de l'homme, BP 597, Nouakchott, MAURITANIE
and to diplomatic representatives of MAURITANIA in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 9 May 1991.

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