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Mauritania: prisons are changing, but problems remain

Published on 19 June 2018.

Abass1 rode a car in the district of Tevragh Zeina in Nouakchott (Mauritania) in the summer 2016. He was arrested by plain-clothed police officers from the Direction du Sûreté du Territoire (DST). Placed in their unmarked vehicle, blindfolded, he was taken to the Judicial Police Station (CSPJ). There, he spent four days before several transfers. Planète Réfugiés collected his testimony in March 2018.


ABASS DESCRIBED this police station as hell. He was treated poorly and repeatedly slapped. His face was also repeatedly smashed against the tiled floor. Upon his arrival, he was handcuffed and shackled and forced to walk.
Abass was interrogated several times. He was repeatedly asked questions about the IRA-Mauritania, as well as about the sources of funding for that movement. In his first night at the Tevragh Zeina Judicial Police Station, he was transferred to a secret place.

There, he was tortured: he was given an electrified helmet, which looked like a motorcycle helmet and he received electric shocks. He was handcuffed and shackled on the feet, with the hands behind his back and attached to the ceiling with a rope.

Abbass was lifted up, before the rope was released, causing him to fall just up to few inches off the ground. He was also beaten with a baton on the soles of his feet several times.
Abass stayed in this secret place from 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM before being re-transferred one more time to the Judicial Police Station of Tevragh Zeina. During his arrest, he did not have access to any doctor. He could not see his lawyers until the fifth day following his arrest, at the Office of the Prosecutor at 4:00 AM, before being transferred to Dar Naim Prison.


  1. The name has been changed. 

In Bir Moghrein, medical problems are treated with tranquillisers.

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