[JURIST] Twenty-one men on trial for assorted crimes under anti-terror laws in Mauritania [government website, in Arabic] accused police officials Monday of using torture to extract confessions. All 21 of the suspects are charged with belonging to the "non-authorized organization" Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) [FAS backgrounder], a known wing of the al Qaeda organization, and several of the suspects have also been charged with participation in terrorist attacks in Mauritania. At the opening hearing of the trial Monday, Mohamed Mahfoudh Ould Idoumou, a key suspect and alleged leader of the GSPC cell, claimed that police had used torture to obtain confessions from the suspects that remain in prison.
The trial has been delayed for several months by military leaders of the 2005 coup in Mauritania [JURIST report], who cited a need for a comprehensive interim government before allowing the trial to continue. AFP has more.