NOUAKCHOTT - A young Muslim man in Mauritania is facing a possible death sentence after being convicted of apostasy and jailed for having written an article criticising the prophet Mohammed (PBUH), a judicial source said Monday.
He was arrested on Thursday in Nouadhibou in the northwest of the country, an Islamic republic, and "was convicted of lack of respect for the prophet," and jailed, the source said.
The author of the article will be brought before a judge and given the chance to repent but if he refuses, "he risks the death penalty," the source added.
In the article, which was published on several Mauritanian websites but later removed, he questioned the decisions taken by Islam's prophet and his companions during the holy wars.
He also accused Mauritanian society of perpetuating "a sinful social order" and defended those at the bottom rungs of society who he described as "marginalised and discriminated against from birth."
It marked the first time an article criticising Islam and the prophet had been published in Mauritania, where Sharia law is enforced -- although severe punishments like death sentences have not been applied since the 1980s.