Release President Mohamed Nasheed
This petition had 6,655 supporters
Mohamed Nasheed, the first-ever democratically elected President of the Maldives who was forced from power by the military in 2012, has been arrested and detained in jail by the authoritarian regime of Yameen Gayoom.
Nasheed's arm was badly hurt while he was being physically manhandled into the courtroom by police, and he has been denied legal representation.
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Current President Yameen Gayoom is the half-brother of Maumoon Gayoom, the dictator who ruled the Maldives for 30 years. Since Yameen’s ruling coalition collapsed in early February, he has been relentlessly purging political opponents. He jailed his own defense minister and has issued warrants for the arrest of senior members of the opposition. Nasheed's arrest is a part of this broad sweep.
Formerly an Amnesty International "Prisoner of Conscience" who was jailed for more than six years for promoting democracy, President Nasheed defeated Maumoon Gayoom in the Maldives’ first-ever free and fair election in 2008. Known worldwide as the “Mandela of the Maldives,” Nasheed also became an international hero of the climate change movement for setting a goal of making his nation carbon neutral by 2020, and by dramatically influencing climate talks at the 2009 UN Copenhagen Conference. He received the prestigious James Lawson Award for Non-Violent Conflict Resolution, as well as the Sylvia Earl Blue Mission Award for climate advocacy. Nasheed is the subject of the acclaimed documentary “The Island President.” In 2009, he was named a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.”
Yameen recently trashed Nasheed's carbon neutral policy, and is pursuing a new energy policy of DRILLING the pristine waters of the Maldives for crude oil.
The United Nations, European Union and the Commonwealth have all expressed concern over the politicization and lack of independence of the Maldivian judiciary. It is this very court, composed of hand picked cronies of the Gayoom dynasty, that will decide Nasheed’s fate as he goes to trial on these politically motivated charges.
President Nasheed’s arrest has led to hundreds of supporters taking to the streets in protest and the international community fears that these actions by the regime may escalate the already volatile climate in the Maldives, leading to scenes of unrest on the streets.
MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said: “This politically motivated arrest is a desperate and reckless attempt by President Yameen to cling onto power in the face of growing opposition to his autocratic rule. President Yameen, who came to power through a stolen election, feels his grip on power weakening as his coalition falls apart and is resorting to increasingly authoritarian tactics.”
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