Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Mauritania: opposition leader formally charged

Opposition leader, Mohamed Ould Haidallah and 15 others (including his son) have been formally charged with "conspiring to destroy the state" and other charges along the same vein.

Haidallah challenged President Maaouiya Ould Taya in elections earlier this month ... and obviously, Haidallah lost. The opposition claims there was fraud.

According to this Reuters story, the Justice Ministry spokesperson said the trial could take place before Dec. 9 ... the same story also quotes unnamed officials as saying the trial could begin as soon as next Monday.

Haidallah was arrested the day before the Nov 7 elections, released, then arrested again two days after the election.

Haidallah is a former president ... he took power in a 1979 coup ... then five years later, there was a coup against Haidallah, led by the current president Taya.

And this past June, there was a coup attempt against Taya and he still appears a bit jumpy.

Here is an AP piece on how Taya is cracking down on the Islamists in his country ... the piece argues that Taya "... is courting continuing American approval at the risk of an Islamic backlash."