Mauritania ALERT: Journalist arrested while covering demonstration

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ahmed Ould Neda, reporter of Akbar Info, a Nouakchott-based independent news agency was on August 7, 2008 arrested and detained by the Mauritanian police while covering a demonstration against the new military regime in the country.
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that Neda’s camera with pictures of the police assault was confiscated. 

The demonstration had been organized by a broad coalition of four political parties against a coup d’état that ended the young democratically elected regime of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

On August 6, a group of military officers led by General Mohammed Ould Abdul-Aziz, former head of the presidential guard toppled President Abdallahi’s administration after he (General Abdul-Aziz) and three other senior officers were dismissed.

However, another demonstration in support of the takeover on the same day and led by General Mohammed Ould Abdul-Aziz went on without interruption.

The arrest and detention of Neda brings to three, the number of journalists detained in Mauritania. Two other journalists, Mohamed Nemar Omar, and Mohammed Ould Abdelatif, editor and reporter respectively of the “Al Houriya” an Arabic newspaper have been in prison since July 23, 2008 over an article they published relating to corruption in judiciary of the country.

MFWA is deeply concerned about the highhandedness displayed by the police in Mauritania. We are requesting for the immediate release of the journalists.

Media Foundation for West Africa