تضامنوا مع المدونة طل الملوحي

13 09 2010

Free 19-year old Syrian Blogger Tal Al-Molohe

وقفة إحتجاجية أمام السفارة السورية بالقاهرة للمطالبة بالإفراج الفوري عن طل الملوحي

طل الملوحي مدونة سورية عمرها أقل من 19 عاما إعتقلت منذ 11 شهراً من قبل أجهزة الأمن السورية وحتى الآن هي قيد الإحتجاز والتحقيق في المعتقلات السورية في مكان غير معلوم ولايدري عنها أحداً .. أقصى نشاطات طل الملوحي تنحصر في كتابة قصائد شعرية في حب فلسطين
آن الأوان لكشف إنتهاكات حقوق الإنسان البشعة في سوريا وتسليط الأضواء عليها .. وحيث أن أشقائنا أحرار سوريا في الداخل يستحيل عليهم في ظل النظام القمعي العنيف القايام بأي أنشطة تعمل على الكشف على مصير طل .. قرر النشطاء الأحرار المصريون بكافة ميولهم السياسية تجاوز الحدود الجغرافية والتضامن الإنساني مع قضية حقوق الإنسان في سوريا والمطالبة بالكشف عن مصير طل والإفراج الفوري عنها من خلال وقفة إحتجاجية سلمية يوم الأحد 19 سبتمبر 2010 أمام السفارة السورية في القاهرة في 18 شارع عبد الرحيم صبري بالدقي من الساعة الثالثة ظهراً ولمدة ساعتين حتى الخامسة عصراً
قضية الحريات قضية إنسانية تخص كل حر شريف تتساقط معها الحدود الجغرافية .. وأحرار مصر دائما هو أول من يناصرون حرية الإنسان وحقوقه في داخل البلاد وخارجها
الوقفة الإحتجاجية السلمية .. حق دستوري كفله لك القانون .. للتعبير عن مطالبك امام سفارة الدولة المعنية





Lax on Terrorists, Brutal on Journalists

17 01 2010

General Aziz: lax on terrorist, brutal on journalists

As anounced in my previous post, the Mauritanian supreme court examined Hanevy’s case and decided that his conviction was illegal. Shockingly, it ordered a second trial for him and kept him in jail to await a new trial for unspecified charges.

According to his defense team leader Attorney Brahim Ould Ebety, contacted by this blogger via phone, “this is a highly illegal procedure”. As hard as it is to believe, but it is also “the first time in all of Mauritania’s history that a case has been handled this way”. Here is why:

1- No laws sanctions electronic publications/content: Hanevy’s conviction on the charge of publishing “indecent content” is an aberration; no Mauritanian law on the books at the time of the trial sanctions, regulates or covers any electronic publications. Despite the judge’s explicit admission of this fact in his ruling, he still went ahead and convicted him nonetheless.

2- The attorney general violated the constitution and prison procedures: per the constitution, and the rules of procedure, Hanevy should have been released on the day he finished his sentenced because the law says very clearly that for a prisoner to be kept in prison, the warden should receive a duly signed order from a judge to admit a prisoner in. It has to be issued for this action to be taken as orders cannot be retroactively reissued.

3- The attorney general completely disregarded the rules and procedures of filing a motion to the supreme court on a case as it is clearly stipulated that should such a move be undertaken, the defense attorney should be notified in advance and has a a 15 day period to respond, then and only then, the case can be legally reviewed by the supreme court.

The reason for this extensive illegal jockeying is the government’s attempt to coverup its bad decisions, as it knows that it is standing on no legal grounds whatsoever, while still punishing Hanevy. In plain colloquial english, they know they messed up but they want another shot only to get the job done right this time. Let’s be clear here, General Aziz is personally out to punish Hanevy for his unrelenting criticism of his regime and methods.

Incredibly, Mr Ahmedou Tidjane Bal, the head of the supreme court was a former legal advisor to the Burundi UN office , and in more recent times a justice minister. He is seen here blithering a few days before Hanevy’s arrest last june at the UN human rights council in Geneva about human rights progresses in Mauritania. This detail is relevant as Mr Bal has a history of violating laws and procedures to satisfy his boss’ political agenda. The latest was his refusal as justice minister to order a district attorney to release former Prime Minister Ould Elwaghef when he was detained in another political witch hunt last year.

Salvador Dali, could not have imagined a better picture to paint; while General Aziz is unleashing his anger on a news website editor, he is fully engaged in a “dialogue” with terrorists validating the Ali Abdullah Saleh axiom: “lax with terrorists, tough with journalists”

A few days ago, the Mauritanian government through representatives from the justice, interior, and Islamic guidance ministries engaged in a bizarre exercise allowing the tenors of Mauritania’s Salafist movement to dialogue with self-confessed Al Qaeda terrorists including Sidina Ould Sidi arrested for shooting French tourists in December 2007, and for rampaging in Nouakchott after escaping from prison to be captured later by French Intelligence in Guinea.

The subject of this charming discussion has been the theory of Jihad, with the “nice” Salafists trying to convince the Al-Qaeda Jihadists, in the words of Ould Sidina, the killer of at least 5 people:

We have always called for dialogue through press interviews and are not against it, but we shall not give up our ideas until we are provided with proof from the Qur’an and the Sunna showing us any errors we may have committed. Otherwise, the other side should follow our opinions if they are are proven correct.

A guard in Nouakchott’s Central Prison is quoted by Saharamedia saying while his colleagues were busy scrubbing the floor and setting up a podium for the next round of dialogue:

This is the first time ever that a podium is set up in the prison to conduct a dialogue. There is no doubt that this is a historical event. We are setting up the space between Mauritania’s ulema and the terrorist (sic.) this looks like a big deal.

Yes, it is a big deal. Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and his fellow terrorists around the world are getting a raw deal. They are never allowed to speak publicly, nor is their terrorist ideology given a platform.

As you can see, the “new Mauritania” under the rule of General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz is a land where journalists who believe in the rule of law and freedom of speech are crushed, and murderous Al-Qaeda terrorists are free to voice their opinions with the full blessing of said government.

This is an outrage.





When the Magic Turns on the Magician

14 01 2010

Hanevy during his American sojourn

Hanevy Ould Dahah should in theory have his day at the supreme court today (Jan 14) after being suddenly summoned to appear before the highest court in the land. Except that the proceeding will be illegal. Make no mistake, the Mauritanian government did not suddenly discover that it erred in this case, it is merely trying to coverup its already highly illegal treatment of Hanevy. In fact, the authorities may convict him to another sentence!

His lawyers led by veteran human right activist attorney Brhaim Ould Ebetty hit back with a complaint duly filed against the officials involved in Hanevy’s extrajudicial punishment. For the record, they are:

- Ly Amadou Ciré, district attorney at Nouakchott’s regional court
– Ahmed Ould Wely, government attorney at the appeals court
– Mariata Kane, penitentiary service and penal affairs director
– Ahmed Ould Cheikh, the Dar Naim prison facility warden

In an interview on Taqadoumy, Ould Ebetty  is paraphrased explaining this round of government legal jockying:

Whether it yields a release or an additional sentence, the outcome of tomorrow’s hearing is illegal and will not be accepted by Hanevy or his defense [team] we have already shown what the law says on this matter in our last affidavit to the supreme court.

Still according to Ould Ebetty, the defense team is also considering taking Hanevy’s case before international courts in case the Mauritanian supreme court fails in its duties to restore Hanevy’s freedom.

Incidentally, in another twist, the complaint against the officials behind Hanevy’s detention was filed with..District Attorney Ly Amadou Ciré, the very same who initiated this entire mess. He lodged the complaint and delivered the plaintiffs with a receipt, exactly as mandated by law.

Although it is easy to blame Messieurs Ciré et al for their manifest lack of moral courage, they are not the ones to blame. Hanevy’s ordeal is sanctioned by the highest authorities in Mauritania: General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. The system Mauritanians live under is such that he, and he alone, has the power of life and death on anyone foolish enough to cross him.

Buckle your seat belts and cross your finger.





Haram in the House of Bliss!

11 01 2010

Hanevy on the day he was arrested

The news from the House of Bliss (Dar Naim Jail) is not good; Hanevy fell on his head on his way back to his cell and is semi-comatose according to the latest reports. The government sent a military doctor to asses his status. The verdict is that he needs x-rays to evaluate any possible internal injuries. A great source of concern is that the authorities blocked any visits to Hanevy since his fall which raises grave concerns over his prognosis: What is there to hide?

Interestingly, a cleric urged Hanevy to end his hunger strike because it is a form of suicide. This blogger’s response: is it Haram to combat injustice? Isn’t silence in the face of tyranny a sin?

Today, the head of Mauritania’s opposition, former presidential candidate and chairman of the RFD party, joined a sit-in at Nouakchott’s courthouse. The event was called for and organized by the Journalist Union to demand Hanevy’s release.

Daddah was not the only political leader to advocate for Hanevy, in fact, Noma Bint Mogaye (featured previously on Dekhnstan) among others, demanded his release in an interview where she attacked General Aziz. To them his case is about the future of freedoms and liberties of Mauritanians under the increasingly authoritarian General Aziz.

He was featured extensively during the parliamentary debate over the new Anti-Terror Law. In the process of the debate, private sources in the opposition informed this blogger that the said law is plagiarized from Tunisia’s own anti-terror law with the difference that the Tunisian version had relatively more protections for the citizens. It should be said that while Tunisia is not exactly a model on civil liberties, General Aziz is drawing on the example of some of the worse human rights abusers in the world; it gives observers insights into his real ambitions.

In other news, if you type Mauritania in Google News, or twitter, most of the return hits you will get are about the unfortunate westerner hostages (Spaniards, French, Italian) kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb in November and December of last year. This is a far cry from the content of Mauritanian news sites where the issue has been given minimum attention.

These hostages’ plight deserves our sympathy and our prayers go to them and their families in the hope for their safe return to their homes and families. We also hope that the Mauritanian government will get its act together and wipe out from the face of the earth, once and for all, those terrorists behind these acts.

Unfortunately, the reality is such that Mauritanians are focused on their own domestic problems trying to fight off a tyrannical regime with every legal and peaceful venue amidst international indifference.

While, the world’s concern over the growth of Al-Qaeda in the Sahel is commendable and justifiable, policy makers ought to remember that terrorism is not vanquished only by bombs and guns. The best hope to prevent this criminal gang from growing is winning the goodwill of local citizens by showing-  rather than talking- a commitment to their liberties and freedoms.





Sympathetic Faces and Harsh Realities

6 01 2010

Mauritania Foreign Minister Ms Naha Bint Mouknass

Mauritanian women power yet again sets the day for me, in this Alarabiya piece we learn that Mauritania’s foreign minister-the only Arab woman ever to hold that position- Naha Bint Mouknass (الناهة بنت مكناس) decided to stay with ordinary people in Cairo’s airport rather than going to the VIP room during a stop on the way to Damascus.

As a Mauritanian, I was proud to see that Ms Mouknass unlike her boss General Aziz is keeping to some of the spirit of modesty our founding fathers adhered to. Including her late father Hamdi Ould Mouknass, foreign minister under late-president Moctar Ould Daddah- Mauritania’s George Washington.

However, I cannot let this feel good moment blind me  to the real face of  the current ruling regime she serves. just today leading Arab human rights activist Syrian Haitham Manaa, wrote an op-ed highlighting the plight of  Algerian worker Mariam Mahdi on hunger strike for 25 days now protesting her firing by British Gas for deciding to wear a headscarf, and Hanevy Ould Dahah who has been on a hunger strike for the last 9 days to protest his arbitrary detention.

Manaa, following the lead of the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) in dubbing Hanevy a “prisoner of opinion”, praised the hard work of Mauritania’s Journalist Union defending Hanevy so did the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

As, the support and solidarity with Hanevy grow, I hope that Ms Meknass will be astute enough to explain to her boss that holding a journalist on hunger strike to protest being held after finishing his sentence is simply a bad way to get any good will from the rest of the world.

In fact, I urge her as the guardian of Mauritania’s good name, and as head of a political party to take a principled position: urge General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz to FREE HANEVY.

Is that too much to ask?





Aziz: Hanevy isn’t my problem

3 01 2010

General Aziz & his top ally Colonel Kaddafi

Hanevy today has been on hunger strike for a week and his health is deteriorating. Yet, the Mauritanian government remains determined to keep him locked up. General Aziz told members of parliament yesterday:

“Hanevy’s case does not concern me and I will not intervene in it. Hanevy was not arrested during my rule. I have not arrested a single journalist. His case is a matter for the courts.”

Regardless of how disingenuous these statements are, General Aziz did in the past say in a meeting with journalists on November, 1 2009:

“..it is better for Hanevy to remain in jail for his own safety, so that he wouldn’t be kidnapped or killed by the people he writes about all day long..”

As you can see, there is a pattern. The judges are taking their cues from Aziz. They interpreted his November statement and implemented their boss’ wishes: “Keep Hanevy locked up even if his sentence is up” which was what happened on December 24.

Hanevy’s plight is already gathering attention. Tunisian dissident Moncef Marzouki and the head of the Arab Committee for Human Rights Syrian Haitham Manaa, two of the most prominent Human Rights activists in the Arab world are already demanding his releases. They were reached by phone by the head of Mauritania’s journalists union.

Speaking of Mauritanian journalists, they are on strike anyway today; no press was printed today because of the sharp rise in printing costs.

Interestingly, RFI picked a report issued by the Mauritanian Bar Association decrying the conditions  the infamous House of Bliss a.k.a Dar Naim prison where Hanevy is held, the conclusion are devastating according to the report:

-Overcrowded: Dar Naim prison was built to house 300 inmates, now there are a 1000 inmates in because of the excessive use of preventive detention. There are people who have been on preventive detention since 2002,2003, 2004 who still await trail for offenses whose punishment are shorter than the time already spent in.

-Violence, infectious diseases, torture: the prison does not have healthcare services, the overcrowding of cells is ideal for the spread of diseases. Add to that the constant violence among the inmates and the torture practiced by the guards.





Hanevy Starts a Hunger Strike

28 12 2009

The first hunger strike of the decade in his country is by Mauritania’s Hanevy Ould Dahah, director of news website Taqadoumy.com, after he finished his (illegal) 6-month sentence on December 24, the authorities REFUSE to release him and offer no legal explanation whatsoever.

This case generated a lot of protest in Mauritania and was covered by Aljazeera among others. Mauritanian journalists issued a statement holding the government responsible for Hanevy’s health and organized a protest in front of the UN offices in Nouakchott.

Mauritania’s main opposition party (RFD) and the coalition of opposition parties condemned the measure and demanded his immediate release.

Dahah announced his hunger strike in a letter transmitted by his lawyers explaining his motives:

ورغم أنني مستعد لأن أُسلم روحي ثمنا لإيماني العميق بقيم الديمقراطية ورفضي الذي لا يعرف حدودا لجبروت الديكتاتورية وصلفها فإنني أعلن احتجاجي على السجن التحكمي الذي يعتبر أنكي ضروب الاستبداد، من خلال الدخول ابتداء من اليوم الأحد 27/12/2009 في إضراب مفتوح عن الطعام، إلى أن يرفع عني هذا الظلم، الذي لا يبرره سوي الانتقام مني بسبب موقفي المناوئ للانقلاب، رغم أنه أكثر المواقف التي أتشرف بها في مسيرة نضالي من اجل الحرية

“I am ready to pay with my life for my deep commitment to democratic values, and also [because of] my categorical rejection of dictatorship’s oppression and arrogance, I protest my preventive incarceration which is the cruelest form of tyranny. I enter in an open hunger strike starting today sunday 12/27/2009 until I am freed of this injustice motivated by my opposition to the [Aziz led August 2008] coup. My opposition to the coup is the position I am most proud of through my entire struggle for freedom.”

Today is day 2 of Hanevy’s hunger strike and he is reported to have had a glass of juice only.








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