Reporters Without Borders condemns the continuing detention of Hanevy Ould Dehah, the editor of the website Taqadoumy (http://www.taqadoumy-fr.com/), who has been held since 18 June following a presidential candidate’s complaint. A court detention order expired at 3:40 p.m on 26 July and since then he had been held illegally.
“We support the request by Dehah’s lawyer, Ould Ebety, for his arbitrary detention to be ended,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Dehah must be freed because the judicial order for his detention has expired and the authorities are breaking the law by keeping him in prison.”
Dehah’s trial should have taken place yesterday but was postponed until 5 August, the day that Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is due to be sworn in as president.
26.07.2009 - Detained website editor now facing up to five years in prison
Reporters Without Borders condemns the charges of “violating public decency”, “inciting crimes” and “publishing court statements still under the seal of confidentiality” that were brought against Hanevy Ould Dehah, the editor of the website Taqadoumy, on 24 June. Dehah, who has been held since 18 June, was taken to Dart Naim prison after being charged.
“We urge the authorities to explain the charges brought against Dehah, who has not yet been tried, and to produce evidence to support them,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They are out of all proportion to the article that prompted his arrest. We suspect the authorities are using this prosecution to silence the website.”
Dehah faces a possible five-year jail sentence when he is brought to trial, which should be within the next month.
He was arrested on 18 June at the behest of the orders of the Nouakchott prosecutor’s office as a result of a complaint by presidential candidate Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, the head of the opposition Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renovation (AJD/MR), over an article posted on Taqadoumy on 22 April.
Headlined “The sudden fortune of Ibrahima Sarr,” the article referred to “the purchase by Mr. Sarr of a villa costing 30 million ouguiyas (about 83,000 euros) on the Nouadhibou road in an area known as ‘university lands’, one of the capital’s most elegant neighbourhoods.” Sarr and his family described the article as “defamatory and baseless.”