Bedr Ould Abdel Aziz, son of Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz on April 7, 2016, caused the arrest and detention of Jedna Deida, manager of the mauriweb.info website and Baye N’diaye, webmaster of cridem.org.
The arrest of the two journalists was as a result of a publication authored by Deida titled “Urgent: Bedr Ould Abdel Aziz allegedly shoots Live Bullet at a Herdsman in the Ranch of the Head of State at Inchiri?” The story was later republished by N’diaye on cridem.org.
The journalists passed the night of April 7, 2016 in prison, before a protest march by media professionals in the country forced the authorities to grant them provisional release on April 9.
The prosecution says the two were “caught in the act of committing a crime” and charged them for “defaming the son of the president”, adding that “they acted with an intent to cause prejudice.” The charges, all criminal in nature, can lead to a jail term of up to five years.
The journalists appeared in court on April 15, 2016, but the prosecution said the case has been withdrawn. It did not declare that the journalists have been definitively discharged.
The withdrawal of the case followed an outcry by media and civil society organisations in and outside of Mauritania. The MFWA equally condemns the arrest and detention of the Deida and N’diaye and as well as the criminal charges pressed against them in violation of Mauritania’s laws which have decriminalised press offenses. We urge the Mauritanian authorities to abide by their country’s constitution.