(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Prominent opposition leader freed

Mauritania’s most prominent opposition politician, Ahmed Ould Daddah, and two of his associates were freed after a month’s detention for accusing the government of agreeing to accept Israeli nuclear waste in the West African country, news organisations and human rights officials said.

Daddah, chairman of the Union des forces democratiques, former minister Mohameden Ould Babah and Mohameden Ould Icheddou returned to their homes in the capital, Nouackchott, on Sunday, a day before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A member of Mauritania’s human rights associations told IRIN that the men were probably released because of international and national pressure.

“People, especially women, were very active,” the official said.
The politicians were arrested on 16 December, on the eve of Ramadan, and sent to a remote desert location some 690 km east of the capital.

The government of President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, which made no comment of the release of the three men, has denied agreeing to accepting the nuclear waste from the Dimona nuclear power plant. The Mauritanian government accused the politicians of damaging the country’s image through their claims.

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