24th June, 2010
A court in Nouakchott has handed down death sentences to three Nigerians,Â three citizens of Mauritania and three other foreignersÂ for murder, agency reports said.
They were sentenced as alarm grows at the rising crime rate in the Mauritanian capital, a judicial source said Wednesday.
The sentences on Monday and Tuesday were pronounced against three MauritaniansÂ and six foreigners for four different murders committed in 2008, the source said. Two of the victims were expatriate restaurant owners, a Frenchwoman attacked in her home by two Guineans and a Gambian with intent to rob, and a Lebanese murdered by three Nigerian employees.
Three Mauritanians were found guilty of killing a local shopkeeper, who was found dead with 17 stab wounds, and a fourth was sentenced for murdering a friend in a jealous rage.
The death penalty has not been applied in Mauritania since 1987 but local residents are worried by a rise in violent crime in a city that was considered particularly peaceful until recently.
As well as murder, the authorities are concerned by the incidence of drug-trafficking and terror attacks.
In May death sentences were handed out to three Al-Qaeda members for the murder of four French tourists in 2007.
The chilling shooting, which was survived by a fifth victim, marked a turning point for the largely-desert nation, known as being visitor-friendly and peaceful despite a string of coup dâ€™etats.