Mauritania ALERT: Second Al Houriya newspaper journalist detained in a month

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mohammed Ould Abdel Latif, an editor of the “Al Houriya” an Arabic language newspaper was on July 21, 2008 arrested and detained by the Mauritanian police.
The journalist remains in detention.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that although no reasons have been assigned for his arrest and subsequent detention, it might be due to an article he wrote that was published in Issue No. 98 of the “Al Houriya” on the same day of his arrest.

The correspondent said that in the article, Abdel Latif claimed that some judges had collected bribes in the sum of 25 million Ouguiya  to close a case involving some 43 suspected drug criminals.

This is the second in a month that a journalist from the “Al Houriya” has been arrested because of his work.

On June 12, Mohamed Nema Oumar, the paper’s  managing editor was also arrested and detained  on the orders of the Attorney General. This followed a libel complaint lodged by the Deputy Speaker of the Mauritanian Senate, Mohcen Ould El Hadj.

The complaint was filed following an article published by “Al Houriya” on the alleged participation of the Senator El Hadj in activities marking the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.

The MFWA is dismayed at the ever increasing tendency of the Mauritanian authorities to arrest and detain journalists. We call for the immediate release of Ould Abel Latif. We also call on the authorities to repeal all laws which are inimical to press freedom. 

Media Foundation for West Africa