Hanevy Ould Dahah, 32, founder and manager of Mauritania’s leading news website www.taqadoumy.com was arrested on June 18 in Nouakchott when members of Mauritania’s security forces without presenting him with any charges, he was handcuffed and led to a police station in Mauritania’s capital.
The arrest was widely condemned by Mauritania’s civil society including a statement from the journalist’s union president demanding his immediate release and a call for a sit-in to show solidarity with Ould Dahah.
While the reasons for the arrest remain unclear: Taqadoumy (The Progressive) has been the most outspoken Mauritanian website denouncing the ruling junta and Mauritania’s previous elected government.
The 2 year old leftist website broke many taboos by publishing stories on corruption, misconduct drawing the ire of the country’s political class.
The authorities arrested reporter Abbass Ould Abraham last March and filtered the site temporarily. Ould Abraham’s short ordeal was triggered by a very critical column he published deconstructing Mauritania’s military ruler General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. “Shutting down our website made us only stronger” was Hanevy’s comment on that episode at the time.
The site Taqadomy reported last May that the number 2 man in the regime, senator Mohcen Ould Elhaj, hurled obscenities at one of its correspondents at a Nouakchott hotel in front of a crowd of reporters present to cover a high level event. He also threatened to exact revenge from the news site and its editor during his outburst.
Married and father of one boy, Ould Dahah is most known for his popular column “Fiery Letters” which he started before launching Taqadoumy.com is widely read because of the combination of his vigorous criticism of the country’s successive governments and his unique writing style.
The Mauritanian authorities have not commented yet on the arrest while no indictment or charges have been brought against the 32-year old.