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.





My First Post: Hanevy Ould Dahah

26 12 2009

Hanevy - Boston summer 2008

To be honest, I was determined not to blog for a variety of reasons but I changed my mind. Why?

My friend Hanevy Ould Dahah, the director of Taqadoumy.com, Mauritania’s leading news website, has been sitting in jail for 6 months. His sentence was up on December 24 but the authorities refuse to release him in a clear sign of things to come under the rule of General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. Needless to say that folks back home are understandably FURIOUS

He was convicted for a so-called “publishing indecent content” after the authorities tried to pin a host of charges carrying a sentence of 5 years in jail. Either way, it is clear that Mauritania is a country where laws have no meaning.

His case was adopted by all of Mauritania’s civil society actors and the petition demanding his release is a collection of all what the country has: former presidents, heads of political parties, journalists..and yes, ordinary citizens.

This is why I decided blogging. Hanevy’s case is not just another blogger/journalist thrown away for political reasons. His is one that will have profound implications for the country: if General Aziz doesn’t feel any push back for his treatment of a journalist, he is certainly going to assume that he is free to repress any dissenting voice without fear of any consequences. Let’s say that this is THE test case for the future of civil rights in the tiny, often forgotten, nation of Mauritania.








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