The President of Mauritania’s Bar Association, Ahmed Ould Youssouf Ould Cheikh Sidya, says the government should shoulder “political responsibility” for last Wednesday’s escape in Nouakchott of an alleged member of a terrorist group.
Speaking in an interview with panapress on Saturday, Ould Cheikh Sidya also demanded the resignation of the cabinet to take “political responsibility” for the escape of Sidi Ould Sidina, an alleged member of a terrorist group which shot dead four French tourists near Aleg district, 250 kilometres south-east of Nouakchott, las t 24 December.
The ad-hoc judge, who was in charge of examining the file, a deputy state prosecutor, a court registrar and a police superintendent, have been sanctioned following the escape.
Bar President Ould Cheikh Sidya said these officials were used as “scapegoats” while “the real culprits” were not touched. “The only responsibility now is political, and it must be borne by the government,” he said.
He further denounced a statement in Parliament by Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister, Mohamed Saleck Ould Mohamed Lemine, blaming the examining judge fore most for the escape of the alleged terrorist because the government was not informed about last Wednesday’s hearing, which should have been conducted within the prison.
Ould Cheikh Sidya cited the principles of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary, and provisions of the criminal code as basis for rejection of the minister’s statement.
He also expressed regret about “a breach” of secrecy by a cabinet member in an enquiry carried out by the judiciary.
Sidi Ould Sidina was extradited from Guinea Bissau on 12 January with Mohamed Ould Chabarnou, an alleged accomplice in the killing of the French tourists.