An appeals court in Mauritania has overturned the convictions of three anti-slavery activists and reduced the sentences of 10 others for their alleged role in a riot in June.
A tribunal had sentenced the 13 members of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in August to up to 15 years in prison after a protest against eviction by residents of a slum in the capital Nouakchott, many of whom are themselves former slaves.
U.N. experts said the activists’ trial was marred by serious rights violations, citing reports of torture in detention and irregularities during the court proceedings.
In addition to the three whose convictions were overturned, seven others are now to be released on time served, Amnesty International said in a statement.
Mauritania has attempted to crack down on slavery and last year passed a law making it a crime against humanity and doubling prison terms for offenders.