The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today called for the release of Hanevy Ould Dehah,editor of Taqadoumy website,who was charged with “offending public decency” and sentenced to six months imprisonment by the court in Nouahchott.
“This is an unduly severe and political judgment, especially as only one of the charges was finally retained,” declared Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “Our colleague must be released,” he added.
Following a complaint on 22 May 2009 against him for publishing a report on the sudden wealth of one of the presidential candidates who bought a house in one of the expensive residential areas of the capital, Hanevy Ould Dehah was arrested on June 18 on the order of the prosecutor of Nouakchott.
He was detained for 2 months and was facing five counts: “offending public decency, defamation, incitement to rebellion and incitement to crimes and offences” because of the absence of enforceable laws applicable to electronic media offences.
He was condemned on August 19, 2009 only for offending public decency” and given a six months jail sentence . He was further ordered to pay 30.000 ouguiyas (about 83 euros) and 21000 ouguiyas (or 59 euros) in legal fees. Hanevy Ould Dehah has filed an appeal.
The IFJ hopes that the higher court will reconsider this judgment, demands the immediate release of the journalist. and calls on the Mauritanians authorities to create the conditions necessary to make freedom of expression and of the press a reality in this country.
For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide