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Detained website editor faces up to five years in prison

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the charges of "violating public decency", "inciting crimes" and "publishing court statements still under the seal of confidentiality" that were brought against Hanevy Ould Dehah, the editor of the website Taqadoumy ( ), on 24 June 2009. Dehah, who has been held since 18 June, was taken to Dart Naim prison after being charged.

"We urge the authorities to explain the charges brought against Dehah, who has not yet been tried, and to produce evidence to support them," Reporters Without Borders said. "They are out of proportion to the article that prompted his arrest. We suspect the authorities are using this prosecution to silence the website."

Dehah faces a possible five-year jail sentence when he is brought to trial, which should be within the next month.

He was arrested on 18 June on the orders of the Nouakchott prosecutor's office as a result of a complaint by presidential candidate Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, the head of the opposition Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renovation (AJD/MR), over an article posted on Taqadoumy on 22 April 2009.

The article, headlined "The sudden fortune of Ibrahima Sarr," referred to "the purchase by Mr. Sarr of a villa costing 30 million ouguiyas (about 83,000 euros) on the Nouadhibou road in an area known as 'university lands', one of the capital's most elegant neighbourhoods." Sarr and his family described the article as "defamatory and baseless."

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