Mauritania gives its version of the story after expelling a French-Moroccan journalist

Seif Kousmate, a Moroccan-French photojournalist who was arrested in Mauritania and expelled for making a documentary on slavery./Ph. DR
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French-Moroccan photojournalist Seif Kousmate «is not a journalist, he has not entered with this title and he has no proof he is one», said Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikh, spokesman for the Mauritanian government in a press conference held Thursday.

In addition to that, the person in charge stressed that the journalist «did not have an authorization» to conduct an investigation on the Mauritanian soil. According to him, Kousmat «entered the country as a tourist, then he went out doing illegal reporting». He made a report on slavery, in a country where 1% of the population is still suffering from this practice, despite its abolition in 1981.

For the record, the reporter was arrested and detained for three days in Nouakchott. For Mauritania, «the authorities have been very nice» with him, giving him his equipments back «after erasing the recordings and photos he took to harm the country’s image», reports La Vanguardia.

Seif was arrested on March the 20th «mear the borders with Senegal where he had to take a flight back to Morocco», reported Tuesday Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Transferred to Nouakchott, he was detained and his phone and computer were confiscated.

«The photojournalist decided to go on a hunger strike, before being finally expelled on March the 24th», the same source added. Contacted by Reporters without Borders, Seif said that the authorities «suspected that he was a terrorist, and then an anti-slavery activist».

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