MAURITANIA: Journalist arrested while covering demonstration

NOUAKCHOTT, August 11, 2008 (MFWA/IFEX) – On August 7, 2008, Ahmed Ould Neda, a reporter for Akbar Info, a Nouakchott-based independent news agency, was arrested and detained by the Mauritanian police while covering a demonstration against the new
military regime in the country.

A correspondent for the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) reported that Neda's camera containing pictures of police assaulting demonstrators was confiscated.

The demonstration had been organized by a broad coalition of four political parties to protest 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 the general and three other senior officers were dismissed.

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

Neda's arrest and detention 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 Al Houriya, an Arabic newspaper, have been in prison since July 23 over an article they published on judicial corruption.

MFWA is deeply concerned about the highhandedness displayed by the police in Mauritania. The organization is calling for the immediate release of the detained journalists.

For further information on the Mohamed Nemar Omar and Mohammed Ould Abdelatif cases, see:

For further information, contact Jeannette Quarcoopome, Media Foundation for West Africa, 30 Duade Street, Kokomlemle, P.O. Box LG 730, Legon, Ghana, tel: +233 21 2424 70, fax: +233 21 2210 84, e-mail:, Internet:

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