Mauritania ALERT: Journalist arrested, detained

The Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Mauritania police on May 29, 2002, arrested Mohamed Nema Oumar, editor-in-chief of the Arabic monthly Al Kaïma magazine.

Mohamed was detained for four days before he was released without trial. At the time of his arrest Nema Oumar was preparing a dossier on the Maghreb Arab Union, grouping Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, to coincide with the 12 Session of the Magreb Security Committee.

Nema went to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and met a policeman who agreed to assist him obtain the information he needed. The policeman then fixed an appointment for the journalist with his superiors.

The next day, Oumar received a telephone call from the Director of the CID inviting him to meet with him at his office. On his arrival at the premises of the CID, Oumar was whisked off to the Tevraagh Zeïna police station where he was subjected to interrogations for several hours on the motives of his investigation and his possible relationship with the Libyan Intelligence Services and some Mauritanian Arab nationalist movements, especially the “Nasserists”.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is very appalled by the detention without trial, of Mr Oumar merely for seeking information, which, in many progressive countries, would be made available to the journalist as of right.

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