Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06NOUAKCHOTT438
2006-04-13 11:00:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Nouakchott
Cable title:  

REPORT OF JOURNALIST ARREST ERRONEOUS

Tags:  PREL PGOV PHUM PINR EAID KPAO MR 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHNK #0438/01 1031100
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R 131100Z APR 06 ZDK PER YOUR SVC 7150
FM AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT
TO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0229
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NOUAKCHOTT 000438 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/12/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR EAID KPAO MR
SUBJECT: REPORT OF JOURNALIST ARREST ERRONEOUS

REF: A. 05 NOUAKCHOTT 1071

B. 05 NOUAKCHOTT 904

C. 05 NOUAKCHOTT 440

NOUAKCHOTT 00000438 001.9 OF 002


Classified By: Amb. Joseph LeBaron, Reasons 1.4 (b),(d)

--------------
(C) Key Points
--------------

-- According to recent (and erroneous) media reports,
Mauritanian police arrested a Mauritanian journalist earlier
this week. The report is not true.

-- We were able to track down the journalist, Abdallah
Mimine, a correspondent who reports for Al-Alam, Iran's
popular Arabic-language satellite news channel.

-- Mimine told us he was only questioned, not arrested.
Police asked him to hand over the videotape of his interview
with the head of an organization protesting the continuing
detention of more than a dozen Mauritanians charged with
terrorism (reftels). He refused, and was soon thereafter
released.

------------
(C) Comments
------------

-- The media might have gotten this one wrong, but other
journalists have been detained here in recent months. Some
journalists claim harassment by the police is common.

-- On the whole, there is greater media freedom here than
before the coup last August. But Mauritania still has a long
way to go before it meets international standards for freedom
of speech.

End Key Points and Comments.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NOUAKCHOTT 000438

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/12/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR EAID KPAO MR
SUBJECT: REPORT OF JOURNALIST ARREST ERRONEOUS

REF: A. 05 NOUAKCHOTT 1071

B. 05 NOUAKCHOTT 904

C. 05 NOUAKCHOTT 440

NOUAKCHOTT 00000438 001.9 OF 002


Classified By: Amb. Joseph LeBaron, Reasons 1.4 (b),(d)

--------------
(C) Key Points
--------------

-- According to recent (and erroneous) media reports,
Mauritanian police arrested a Mauritanian journalist earlier
this week. The report is not true.

-- We were able to track down the journalist, Abdallah
Mimine, a correspondent who reports for Al-Alam, Iran's
popular Arabic-language satellite news channel.

-- Mimine told us he was only questioned, not arrested.
Police asked him to hand over the videotape of his interview
with the head of an organization protesting the continuing
detention of more than a dozen Mauritanians charged with
terrorism (reftels). He refused, and was soon thereafter
released.

--------------
(C) Comments
--------------

-- The media might have gotten this one wrong, but other
journalists have been detained here in recent months. Some
journalists claim harassment by the police is common.

-- On the whole, there is greater media freedom here than
before the coup last August. But Mauritania still has a long
way to go before it meets international standards for freedom
of speech.

End Key Points and Comments.


1. (U) On April 9 the local online Arabic newspaper Al-Akhbar
reported the arrest of Abdallah Mimine, a Mauritanian news
correspondent who covers West Africa for the Iranian
Arabic-language satellite news channel, Al-Alam. Al-Alam is
a popular satellite channel here.


2. (U) According to the Al-Akhbar report, which was picked up
by some international media outlets, Mimine was arrested
while interviewing at a local hotel the spokesperson for the
Association of Families of Islamist Detainees, Leila Bint
Ghaouth.


3. (C) Mimine told the Embassy April 12 that he was not
arrested, but rather questioned by the police. Mimine said
he, Ghaouth, and four of the guards at the hotel were asked
to follow the police to a local police station in Mimine's
car. Once arriving, the four guards were immediately
released, while Mimine and Ghaouth were questioned by the
police about the content of their interview. According to
Mimine, he refused the police's request to hand over his
videotape of the interview. Both Mimine and Ghaouth were
released not long after that. The incident lasted
approximately three hours.


4. (C) Following the questioning, Mimine said that he called
the Minister of Interior, Post and Telecommunications Ould
Mohamed Lemine Mohamed Ahmed, who he said he knew personally.
According to Mimine, Ahmed apologized for the police's
behavior and promised that he would personally investigate
the matter and assured Mimine that it would never happen
again.


5. (U) According to Mimine, the incident occurred after hotel
guards complained to the police that a journalist was
conducting an interview on hotel property without hotel
permission. "The hotel was nervous about having their
building as the backdrop in my interview, and was angry that
I had parked my car in their parking lot without permission."


6. (C) The incident follows the release last week of the
government's report on press reform and liberalization, and a
subsequent dinner hosted by Colonel Fal April 7 for more than

NOUAKCHOTT 00000438 002.2 OF 002


25 journalists to celebrate the report's release and the move
towards greater press freedom in Mauritania. However, the
report was also criticized April 10 in a gathering of some 50
lesser-known journalists and "Peshmerga" (self-styled
journalists) who claimed the report was not marked by
"justice or objectivity," and would not lead to greater press
freedom.


7. (C) Embassy understands that Mimine reportedly brokered a
meeting between Fal and the Iranian president during the
recent Arab League Summit in Khartoum. Mimine is a former
reporter for Mauritanian TV and considered to be an
influential journalist here.


8. (C) We do not know the content of the report that Mimine
was preparing on the jailed Mauritanians, but other media
outlets have charged that the United States is behind the
their continued detention. The 21 Mauritanians have been
charged with membership and participation in a terrorist
group, plotting terrorist attacks both inside and outside of
Mauritania, and recruiting terrorists for such attacks
(reftels). Their cases are currently pending with the
Supreme Court.
LeBaron