• Press Release

Maldives rejects UN criticism of former President’s arbitrary political imprisonment

October 1, 2015

The Maldives government’s rejection of an as yet unpublished UN decision criticizing the imprisonment of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed underscores the insidious disregard for judicial independence in the country, said Amnesty International today. The organization is calling on the government to release him or give him a fair trial.

The Maldives government today said it rejected the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, due to be formally communicated to Nasheed next week. The full decision is not yet known but details published by the government say that the UN group will criticize Nasheed’s “arbitrary” imprisonment in March 2015.

“Nasheed’s trial was a politically-motivated sham and a travesty of justice from start to finish. The erosion of judicial independence is taking the Maldives down a slippery slope to political repression with no check on the government’s opposition crackdown,” said David Griffiths, South Asia Research Director.

“Mohamed Nasheed is not the only person in the Maldives imprisoned after unfair trials. This report should spur the international community to press the Maldives government to cease its wider crackdown on opposition. The government must abide by the UN’s decisions and reverse the outcome of Mohamed Nasheed’s grossly unfair trial.”

Amnesty International is also calling for the Maldivian government to either release other political opponents sentenced after unfair trials or ensure an appeal process for them that guarantees a fair hearing.

On March 13, 2015 former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail after a trial Amnesty International called “a travesty of justice”. The Prosecutor General appealed his sentence on his behalf, but the High Court dismissed it saying the prisoner should appeal directly. The Prosecutor General has now sent the appeal to the Supreme Court.

In April 2015, Amnesty International warned that already eroded human rights in the country were at risk of further deterioration, also raising unfair trials of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and former MP Ahmed Nazim.