French police abuse African lawyer

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Several Mauritanian NGOs under the umbrella National Human Rights Forum (FONADH) have slammed “the violence and abuses” of the French police against lawyer Fatimata M’Baye, the chairperson of the Mauritanian Human Rights Association (AMDH).

Speaking at a news conference late Monday, M’Baye, a lawyer in the Nouakchott Bar, said she was arrested and slammed into custody on 11 March 2008 at the Charles De Gaule Airport in Paris, along with Bernard Pierre Marie, a French doctor.

The Mauritanian lawyer and the French doctor were due to catch a Paris-Nouakchott (Air France 765) flight, aboard which a Mauritanian youth, Mohamed Sidibé, was being deported by French police officers.

Alerted by the the young man’s distress calls, M’Baye and the French doctor strongly protested against the “inhuman treatment” being meted out to the illegal immigrant.

Their reaction sparked an incident with the police, resulting in their detention.

“I was subjected to a body search and stripped of my personal belongings, completely undressed and thrown into a small cell for a day-long custody from 11 to 12 March 2008. In fact, I was humiliated,” M’Baye said.

The lawyer was subsequently charged by the police for ”opposing an escort measure” and a trial is expected to commence soon.

The NGOs – the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Conscience and Resistance (CR), the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO) and the International Federation of Human Rights’ Leagues (FIDH) – voiced their indignation over the incident and urged the French authorities to ensure that airport security forces comply with the basic human rights.

They also condemned the prosecution of the Mauritanian lawyer and the French doctor. Panapress.

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