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Police assault journalists, local correspondent arrested and briefly detained

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 24 May 2009, the police in Mauritania physically assaulted a group of journalists and prevented them from covering a sit-down strike by members of the National Bar Association (ONA) at the court in Nouakchott, the capital.

Hachem Sidi Salem, a local correspondent for Al Hourah, a Qatar-based Arabic television station, was arrested and briefly detained.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the police used batons to prevent the journalists from entering the premises.

The lawyers had taken action to protest what they describe as the repressive nature of the military regime, which has violently cracked down on all demonstrations in the country. On 21 May the regime placed a ban on all demonstrations prior to the 6 June presidential elections.

The MFWA correspondent reported that on 12 May, the association issued a statement cataloguing a number of human rights violations that the military junta had committed against Mauritanians. These violations included arbitrary detentions and abuse of the judicial system.

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