Mauritanian president sues French Green MEP over 'drugs godfather' claim
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Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is to sue French MEP Noël Mamère over accusations that he is “a drugs godfather”. The case, arising from Mamère's comments on the French intervention in Mali, goes to court in Paris Monday.
Mamère is a European parliamentarian for the Green party, EELV, which is in coalition with President François Hollande’s Socialists.
He first made the charge during a TV discussion on the French intervention in Mali, claiming that it has put France in the debt of “not very respectable regimes” in Africa.
“Do you imagine that the jihadists will disappear and that they won’t take refuge in Mauritania, where there is a president who is a drugs godfather?” he asked during a broadcast for the Franco-German channel Arte on 21 January.
Aziz did not take any action at the time but Mamère sought to justify the accusation on his blog on 10 February by citing a “presidential pardon” granted to a drug trafficker and Aziz’s allegedly close relations with a consul of Guinea-Bissau, a country he described as “a drug trafficking hub”.
With Mauritinian opposition politicians demanding an explanation, Aziz was stung into action and mandated lawyers Watson, Farley and Williams to sue the MEP for libel.
Websites that have published the accusation in Mauritania are close to businessman and Aziz opponent Mohamed Ould Bouamatou, Le Monde newspaper reports.
His supporters have demonstrated to demand the president resign.
Bouamatou used to be an ally of Aziz, who took power in a military coup in 2008, but the two have since fallen out and he now spends most of his time in Morocco, while his businesses suffer the close attention of Mauritania's tax inspectors.
Mamère has never been to Mauritania, according to Le Monde.