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Mauritanian journalist jailed for throwing shoe at minister: Lawyers

Ould Mohamed faces three years in prison for lobbing shoe during government news conference
Ould Mohamed is member of 'February 25 Movement', which opposes rule of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (Wiki Commons)

A Mauritanian journalist and opposition activist was on Thursday sentenced to three years in jail for throwing his shoe at a cabinet minister, lawyers and a judicial source told AFP.

Cheikh Baye Ould Mohamed was found guilty of "violence against a public official in the exercise of his duties" after a one-day trial in the capital Nouakchott, the sources said.

He was arrested after lobbing his shoe in the direction of a government spokesman during a news conference on 30 June and calling him a "minister of lies".

Supporters of Ould Mohamed - many of them fellow members of an opposition youth group - jeered and protested as the verdict was read out.

One of the accused's lawyers, Brahim Ould Ebetty, told AFP they would appeal against the "senseless" verdict.

He said the judge had gone beyond the punishment demanded by prosecutors, who had called for a minimum sentence.

"It's an unfair and excessive decision," added another defence lawyer, Yarba Ould Ahmed Saleh.

Ould Mohamed, who is in his thirties, runs a news website called "Meyadine" and is a member of the so-called "February 25 Movement," which opposes the rule of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

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