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Incident on 16 August 2016 Download as CSV Print this page

Location: Brakna

Country: Mauritania

Violation types: Assault Beating

Perpetrator classifications: Gendarmerie


This incident took place in Brakna, Mauritania


According to Amnesty International: "Human rights defenders in Mauritania are exposed to smear campaigns, threats and assaults, particularly when they take public positions against slavery and discrimination. [...] Yéro Abdoulaye Sow, aka Yëro Gaynääko, is a young and vocal rap artist who has recorded songs on racial discrimination and the rise of religious extremism and terrorism in Mauritania. With other rap artists, he has organized the music and human rights festival Welooti in Bababé, 359km south-east of Nouakchott. On 16 August 2016, as he was travelling back to Nouakchott from a conference on rap and resistance in Boghé, 315km south of the capital, his car was stopped at a checkpoint by a group of gendarmes. They accused him of being on drugs and took him out of the car. Not being an Arabic speaker, he responded to their questions in French. The gendarmes yelled at him, asking him to speak Hassaniya and took him to their post. They asked him to take off his clothes and glasses and started beating and spitting on him. They accused him of being a member of IRA and opposition political groups “undermining national unity”. When he was released without explanation hours later, a gendarme told him: “You better continue your journey if you do not want to get any more [beatings].” The following day, he filed a complaint to the North Nouakchott Court. He was summoned for questioning at the gendarmerie, but no one has yet been brought to justice. Concerned for his safety, he fled the country in September 2016.