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Journalist arrested while covering demonstration

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 7 August 2008, Ahmed Ould Neda, a reporter for Akbar Info, a Nouakchott-based independent news agency, was arrested and detained by the Mauritanian police while covering a demonstration against the new military regime in the country.

Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that Neda's camera containing pictures of police assaulting demonstrators was confiscated.

The demonstration had been organised by a broad coalition of four political parties to protest a coup d'état that ended the young democratically elected regime of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

On 6 August, a group of military officers led by General Mohammed Ould Abdul-Aziz, former head of the presidential guard, toppled President Abdallahi's administration after the general and three other senior officers were dismissed.

However, another demonstration in support of the takeover held on the same day and led by General Abdul-Aziz went on without interruption.

Neda's arrest and detention brings to three the number of journalists detained in Mauritania. Two other journalists, Mohamed Nemar Omar, and Mohammed Ould Abdelatif, editor and reporter respectively of "Al Houriya", an Arabic newspaper, have been in prison since 23 July over an article they published on judicial corruption.

MFWA is deeply concerned about the highhandedness displayed by the police in Mauritania. The organisation is calling for the immediate release of the detained journalists.

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