Mauritania UPDATE: Court grants bail to detained ex-minister

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Supreme Court in Mauritania on February 3, 2009 granted bail to Isselmou Ould Abdelkader, a former legislator, after he has spent over three months in prison for criticizing the country's military regime.

Ould Abdelkader was arrested on October 21, 2008 in Nouakchott by personnel of the National Gendarmerie when the country’s Defence Minister lodged a complaint against him over comments he made on a live debate on National Television.

In that debate, Ould Abdelkader, who is also an independent researcher claimed that the Presidential Security Unit (BASEP) which staged the August 6, 2008 coup was made up of foreign militiamen.

He was later charged on two counts of “undermining the morale of the Mauritanian army” and “peddling falsehood”.

Ould Abdelkader’s comments resulted in the dismissal of Sidi Ould Lemjad, then host of the programme, and Limam Cheikh Ould Ely, the director of Mauritania TV on October 09, 2008. In addition, Cheikh Ould Ely was arrested and questioned by the National Gendarmerie on October 22, 2008.

Media Foundation for West Africa