Men arrested in Mauritania for controversial documentary

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Date: 1998

Region: Africa

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Film Video


Artist: Boubacar Ould Messaoud, Maitre Brahim Ould Ebetty, Professor Cheik Saad Bouh Kamara and Abdel Nasser Ould Ethmane

Confronting Bodies: Mauritanian government

Date of Action: January 1998

Location: Mauritania, and France

Description of Artwork: A documentary about slavery in Mauritania.

The Incident: All four men were charged with creating a "non-authorized association" and spreading "false information," in the production of their documentary, that aired on French television.

Results of Incident: Messaoud, Ebetty and Kamara were arrested in Mauritania and Ethmane was charged in absentia, because he lives in France. On 12 February, the four were sentenced to 13 months' imprisonment. Those in custody lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal which confirmed their sentences in March. However, on the very day the Court of Appeal announced its verdict, all four were granted presidential clemency, and the remaining restrictions on their supporters were lifted, although the organizations which they were accused of running remained unauthorized.

Source: Index on Censorship, 2/97; http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/flamnet/message/1447