26 December 2012

Mauritania: Arresting Teachers Who Have Been On Strike and the Detention of TV Channel Team

press release

ANHRI condemns the persistence of the Mauritanian authorities to harass a group of high school teachers who have been in a sit-in at the head-quarter of the high ministry of education. ANHRI also condemns the arrest of 27 of them and the detention of the El-Sahal TV channel during covering the sit-in.

On Monday Morning of December 24, 2012, elements from the Mauritanian Police have raided the head-quarter of the ministry of higher education and scientific research, where the high school teachers have their sit-in in order to protest against the decree of the minister to arbitrary transfer them to remote areas.

It should be noted that the security forces on the previous day, Sunday December 23, 2012, have attacked the sit-in twice. They have arrested 18 of the protesters during this day then other 16 at the evening in addition to arresting, for hours, the team of the Sahal TV channel; two journalists Mohamed Waled Baddidi and Khaled Waled Abdullah, who were covering the sit-in. Then the security forces released them without pressing any charges on them after confiscating all the media-materials they have recorded. In the meanwhile, about 27 teachers still detained as they were disturbed on a number of the police stations in Nouakchott.

ANHRI said that "the persistence of the authorities to deal with the peaceful sit-in by using the security repression and the arrest of a lot of them are a violation to the right to peaceful demonstrations and sit-in. Such violation exposes the intransigence of the authorities in relation with the legitimate demands of the sit-in. In particularly as the decision of transferring of them was a result of previous participations in protest events which they have organized with their colleagues to call for the improvement of their payments and living; which was depicted by the authorities as it is a conspiracy made by the opposition forces".

ANHRI said that "the authorities weren't satisfied only by the arbitrariness in dealing with the sit-in but they have also violated the freedom of the media by the illegal arrest of Sahal TV channel team and the confiscation of their media-materials related to the coverage of the sit-in aiming to block the truth from the public opinion regarding the situation of these teachers".

ANHRI called for the necessity to the immediately release the detained teachers and called the authorities to tackle their problems and ANHRI called the authorities to do not repeat such violation on the right of the public opinion to access to information and facts through harassing the journalists and media-professionals.

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