Ely Ould Dah convicted after six years of proceedings. Our perseverance paid off!

Press release
en fr

Yesterday, July 1st, 2005, the Cour d’assises (criminal court) of Nîmes took a historic decision by sentencing the Mauritania Captain Ely Ould Dah to ten years in prison, the maximum term, for torturing Black-African servicemen in 1990 and 1991. Although Ely Ould Dah has been tried in absentia, FIDH, AMDH and LDH point out that he was legally represented by his lawyers.

The Court accepted all the charges for acts of torture Ely Ould Dah committed directly, ordered or organised at the "Jreïda death camp".

"I am thinking of all the dead, all my friends who were tortured to death at Jreïda. For me, who waited for this day for 14 years, today is the beginning of a new life," said Ousmane Dia, one of the five plaintiffs.

"FIDH welcomes this decision which unquestionably marks a step in the fight against impunity since this is the first time that universal jurisdiction could be applied in France. This principle, which authorises domestic courts to try a foreign national who has committed especially heinous crimes outside the country, is the only principle which provides victims with the right to an effective recourse when total impunity has been granted, as in this case in Mauritania,"
said Patrick Baudouin, lawyer for the parties civiles and FIDH Honorary President.

FIDH, AMDH and LDH point out that Ely Ould Dah fled in 2000 after he had been released under judicial control and that he is protected by the Mauritanian authorities who not only refuse to respect the international arrest warrant issued against him - and confirmed by the judges at the criminal court in Nîmes yesterday - but recently promoted him.

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