Mauritania UPDATE: Detained ex-minister faces seven years prison sentence

Monday, October 27, 2008

Isselmou Ould Abdelkader, an independent researcher who is being detained for criticizing the country’s military regime was on October 26, 2008 charged with two counts of allegedly “lying” and “undermining the morale of the army”.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that if found guilty of the charges, AbdelKader will serve five years in prison for undermining the morale of the Mauritania army and additional two years, for peddling falsehood.

He has since been sent to a civilian prison in Nouakchott.

Abdelkader, a former minister in the regime of  deposed President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi  was arrested on October 21, following his allegation on Point Lumineux, a discussion programme on Mauritanian  state television that the Presidential Security Unit (BASEP), who staged the August 6 coup, were foreign mercenaries.

Two staff members of the station Sidi Ould Lemjad, the host of the programme, and Limam Cheikh Ould Ely, Director of Mauritania TV were dismissed on October 9.  Cheikh Ould Ely was later arrested and questioned by the National Gendarmerie on October 22.

MFWA condemns these acts of repression of free speech in Mauritania. We call on the authorities to unconditionally release Abdelkader and reinstate the two staff members dismissed. 


Media Foundation for West Africa