Justice for Moussa and Abdellahi - FreedomUnited.org
Campaign Update:

July 12, 2018: Fantastic news! Moussa and Abdellahi have finally been released from detention. Over 32,000 Freedom United supporters have joined the call for Moussa and Abdellahi’s freedom since November 2017 – thank you!

Justice for Moussa and Abdellahi

Embed this Campaign on Your Website

Embed this on Your Website. Copy the code below and paste it into the HTML on webpage where you want widget to appear.

Code copied to clipboard
  1. Photo credit: IRA-Mauritania. View our partners in this campaign.

For over a year, Mauritanian anti-slavery activists Moussa Bilal Biram and Abdellahi Matalla Saleck have been held in a Saharan desert prison in Bir Moghrein. The prison, more commonly used to house death row inmates, is in an unsafe remote region of the country, 1,200km away from the capital city of Nouakchott where they live. Whilst in detention, Moussa and Abdellahi have reportedly been tortured and have injuries consistent with being bound in painful positions for hours at a time.1

Why are Moussa and Abdellahi suffering in a remote prison with no realistic possibility of visits by their lawyers or loved ones? Simply for speaking out against slavery.

They have been convicted of, among other charges, incitement of riots and violent rebellion against the government. However, no evidence of these crimes was provided at trial.2

We believe that the authorities are targeting Abdellahi and Moussa because they are leading members of the Mauritanian anti-slavery organization the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA). Moussa and Abdellahi are innocent and should never have been detained, charged or convicted of these crimes but are being persecuted as anti-slavery activists. Their case has recently been referred to Mauritania’s Supreme Court and is awaiting scheduling.

We call on Mauritania’s Minister of Justice to immediately relocate Moussa and Abdellahi to a prison in the capital Nouakchott, pending their Supreme Court hearing, which should grant them immediate and unconditional release.

 Since IRA was founded in 2008, the Mauritanian government has refused to legitimize the group’s work to end slavery and regularly arrests its members on a variety of specious charges, such as belonging to an unrecognized organization.3

This isn’t the first time that the Mauritanian government has tried to silence anti-slavery activists. In 2014, many of you supported our campaign for the release of IRA President, anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid. Nearly 400,000 Freedom United supporters like you took part and our support and pressure to revisit his case made a huge impact!4 Mauritania’s Supreme Court ruled in Biram’s favor in May 2016 and he was freed.

Relocating Moussa and Abdellahi to a safer prison near Nouakchott is just the first step on the path to justice for these men. They are innocent of these bogus crimes and their detainment, especially to a region like Bir Moghrein, is targeted and completely unwarranted. We ultimately want to see Abdellahi and Moussa fully exonerated and released.

International pressure can make a real impact on activists’ right to speak out in Mauritania. If we can leverage global pressure for Moussa and Abdellahi’s case, the Minister of Justice will know the world is watching – creating a safer organizing space for other activists working to end slavery and caste-discrimination in Mauritania. That’s why it’s more important now than ever that we stand up for Moussa and Abdellahi and get them relocated ahead of their Supreme Court hearing so that they have access to their lawyers and families, and receive the care they need.

Mauritania became the final country in the world to abolish slavery by presidential order in 1981 but it took a long time before criminal laws were passed to curb the daily practice of slavery. Due to global pressure, Mauritania finally passed a law in 20075 punishing those who hold other people as property and then strengthened the law in 2015, but it has rarely been enforced. Anti-slavery activists in Mauritania continue to live in fear that if they work openly, they will face the same persecution as Moussa and Abdellahi.

Will you join us in calling on the Mauritanian government to relocate Moussa and Abdellahi while awaiting their Supreme Court hearing – the body with the power to order their immediate release?

  • July 12, 2018: Fantastic news! Moussa and Abdellahi have finally been released from detention. Over 32,000 Freedom United supporters have joined the call for Moussa and Abdellahi’s freedom since November 2017 – thank you!

  • January 2018: Representatives of an EU delegation to Mauritania visited Moussa and Abdellahi in prison. This is a positive step towards ensuring Moussa and Abdellahi receive regular visits and that the conditions under which they are detained are decent.

  • January 2018: The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention announced on December 21 that they find the detention of ten Mauritanian activists, including Moussa and Abdellahi, to be in violation of international law. Click here to read the report.

Campaign Launches

Leave a Reply

110 Comments on "Justice for Moussa and Abdellahi"

newest oldest most voted

It is sad and unfortunate that these people are held in prison for speaking out against slavery. We must ensure their safety and freedom, otherwise humanity’s progress in those countries will be blocked forever.


Terrible and disgraceful that people fighting slavery are detain. UN instead of condemning Israel or other fight against Islamic terrorism should force countries like Mauritania to respect basic human right and justice and impose heavy sanction instead of providing AID.


The judge of any court of this universs who’re given order punishment based for money or power to innocent people’s, they cant imagined so cursen life will be waiting even his/her family members in future. The real judgement day by Almighty Allah surely returned for their criminal activities.
For justice against humanity should be take action immidiately without time killing by the courts. Any person involved to crime against Humanity should not right to move free. He must be get in prison.


lack of democracy makes this happen. then something could and should be done by other Countries, banning their products and pushing on their representatives to change this situation.

Aib Jobe

This is Gross Travesty of Justice, and Mauritania has been notorious for this outdated activity. The World needs top wake up to its senses and responsibilities to ensure an immediate ban on Slavery and Free all activists incarcerated for having the temerity to ask for a stop to this barbaric trade in Humans.

Call on Mauritania to deliver justice for Moussa and Abdellahi

32,348 actions of 50,000 goal

To Minister of Justice Mokhtar Ja Mellal,

We commend Mauritania’s steps toward ending slavery, with 2016 marking the country’s first successful prosecution since the stronger 2015 anti-slavery law was adopted. However, we have serious concerns that it is becoming increasingly difficult for citizens advocating to end the daily practice of slavery to work without fear of persecution by the government.

Anti-slavery activists Moussa Bilal Biram and Abdellahi Matalla Saleck are currently detained in the remote desert region of Bir Moghrein without justification, 1200km away from their home Nouakchott. They do not have access to their lawyers nor loved ones. We are also very concerned to learn of reports that Mr. Biram and Mr. Saleck have suffered torture.

It is our firm belief that Mr. Saleck and Mr. Biram are innocent of any crime and should never have been detained. We look forward to the rapid scheduling of their Supreme Court hearing, which should lead to Mr. Biram and Mr. Saleck being fully exonerated, released and free to continue their work without fear and persecution.

We are calling on you to immediately relocate Mr. Biram and Mr. Saleck to a prison in the capital city of Nouakchott and:

  1. Ensure access to healthcare;
  2. Formally investigate allegations of torture;
  3. Ensure regular visiting rights by legal representatives and family members; and

Support the rule of law, including the operation of the Supreme Court, before which Mr. Biram and Mr. Saleck’s case should be heard without delay, resulting in their immediate and unconditional release.

Freedom United will protect your privacy while updating you on campaigns, news and stories about modern slavery.

Latest Activity

  • Süleyman U.,
  • Theresa C.,
  • Flavia S.,
  • Maria V.,
  • Marc v.,
  • Ilona S.,
  • Robert W.,
  • Mary T.,
  • Anna P.,
  • Roughuiyatou B.,

Send this to a friend