Ould Dehah was due to be released from prison on December 24 when his sentence ended, Agence France-Presse reported. The presiding judge, Ahmad al-Fal, said he was powerless to free the editor because neither prosecutors nor prison authorities had filed the necessary paperwork, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). The journalist began a hunger strike on December 28 in protest of authorities’ failure to release him, ANHRI said.
Ould Dehah, detained in June and placed at Dart Naim Prison,
served a six-month sentence after being convicted of committing acts “contrary
to Islam and decent behavior” in connection with an article asserting the benefits
of sex education. He was acquitted at the same time on charges of defamation
and “inciting rebellion,” stemming from a Taqadoumy article that accused
politician Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, head of the
At the time, defense lawyer Brahim Ould Ebetty said his client was acquitted on some counts because there are no Mauritanian laws regulating electronic media. In comments to AFP, the lawyer questioned how his client could be convicted on certain other counts when all of the material was published online.
“It’s bad enough that Hanevy Ould Dehah should have been
imprisoned for his writing,” said
Taqadoumy has reported critically on the military
junta that ruled the country from August 2008 until August 2009, and its leader,
Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is now