Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney tells Amnesty International why she has taken up the case of former President Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives who was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges. This hasty trial received universal criticism and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared his imprisonment as a violation of international law.
Amal Clooney gave this interview after she spoke at a side event organized by Amnesty International to highlight the human rights situation in the Maldives focusing on fair trials and access to justice.
Amal Clooney acts as legal council to Mohamed Nasheed who is only one of several opposition leaders imprisoned following unfair trials. Others include former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim, sentenced in March to 11 years for allegedly keeping an unlicensed weapon; former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim, sentenced in March to 25 years for alleged corruption.
Almost all opposition leaders are either in jail or in exile, fearing arrest and imprisonment if they return. They include Sheikh Imran Abdulla, the leader of Adhaalath Party, who has been detained since May. He is at risk of unfair trial.
In 2015, a series of arrests and imprisonments of high-profile political opponents in the Maldives has drawn criticism from the international community. In the UPR of the Maldives this year, several states called for judicial accountability in the country, citing serious irregularities within national judicial processes that resulted in violations of the right to a fair trial.
The Maldives government maintains that due process has been followed in all cases of arrests and imprisonments in the Maldives.
The panelists will discuss the ongoing situation and ways forward to ensure that the right to a fair trial is guaranteed and that judicial accountability is enforced.