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Cable reference id: #09NOUAKCHOTT815
“All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.” — “Refus Global“, Paul-Émile Borduas

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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #241691  ? 
SubjectMauritanian Law And Practice Related To Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity
OriginEmbassy Nouakchott (Mauritania)
Cable timeSun, 27 Dec 2009 15:14 UTC
ClassificationUNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Sourcehttp://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/12/09NOUAKCHOTT815.html
History
Extras? Comments
VZCZCXYZ0000 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHNK #0815 3611514 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 271514Z DEC 09 FM AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8973
Hide header UNCLAS NOUAKCHOTT 000815 SENSITIVE SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR AF, AR/RSA-LMAZEL, LGRIESMER, LDEES E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM [Human Rights], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], MR [Mauritania] SUBJECT: MAURITANIAN LAW AND PRACTICE RELATED TO SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY REF: STATE 130765 ¶1. (SBU) Summary: Mauritania has harsh laws making homosexual acts a crime ostensibly punishable by death; however, these laws have never been applied. Mauritanian society is very conservative in regards to homosexuality with recognized homosexuals keeping a low profile. End Summary ¶2. (SBU) Legal Framework: As an Islamic Republic, Shari'a serves as a foundation in Mauritanian law particularly as it relates to social issues. Mauritania is officially among the handful of countries that makes homosexual acts between males punishable by death under Section 304 of the Penal Code of 1999. Mauritanians note that the death penalty provisions allowed in Mauritanian law have not been applied for any crime -- including murder -- for decades. In practice, the Mission is aware of no case ever being prosecuted under the anti-homosexual laws. Harassment arrests have been reported to apply pressure on individuals engaged in commercial disputes. Because of the Islamic requirement for the "crime" to be witnessed by four witnesses, conviction, even if sought, would be nearly impossible. There are no efforts underway either to repeal the anti-homosexual laws or, conversely, force their stricter application. ¶3. (SBU) Social Attitudes: DCM held a roundtable discussion with LES staff (male and female, Arab and African) concerning homosexuality. The general attitudes tended to ignore the phenomena suggesting there are "only a few hundred" homosexuals (all male) in a country of over 3 million inhabitants. When pressed, LES recognized that there are a significant number of known homosexuals throughout the ranks of elite society who are generally accepted. Homosexuality is recognized in non-elite society as well with the sense that, while often ostracized within their families, homosexuals are not generally subject to official discrimination. LES noted that there are no civil society organizations championing gay rights and they could not imagine such an organization developing. There are no gay pride organizations and Mauritanian homosexuals maintain a low profile. Local staff were aware of no overt gay couples in Mauritania. BOULWARE

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