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REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES:
ARBITRARY ARRESTS FOLLOWING STATE OF EMERGENCY

Update info:
11 Feb 2018
Country:
REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES
Subject:
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Justice Ali Hameed, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Mohamed Nadheem, and Hassan Saeed.
Gender: m
Period:
21 Mar 2018
Distribution date:
11 Feb 2018
UA No:
024/2018

Five people have been arrested since the Government of Maldives declared a State of Emergency on 5 February 2018, following a recent Supreme Court decision to release and re-try imprisoned opposition leaders. This appears to be an act of repression by the government to silence political opposition.

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed were arrested early on 6 February 2018 when soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court building. The two judges were part of the four-judge bench who ordered the immediate release and re-trial of nine opposition leaders, including former President Mohamed Nasheed. Early that same morning police also arrested Head of Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) chief Hassan Saeed.

Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was arrested around midnight on 5 February at his residence in Malé, along with his son-in-law Mohamed Nadheem. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s daughter was quoted in media saying that the armed forces broke into the house and arrested him. He is currently being held in a detention centre on an island near Malé. The 80-year-old was president for 30 years until the 2008 elections.

Ever since President Abdulla Yameen came to power in 2013, the Maldives has seen an unrelenting wave of repression. The most prominent victim has been former President Mohamed Nasheed, who was convicted in March 2015 to 13 years in prison on ‘terrorism’ charges that flowed from a deeply flawed and politically-motivated trial. Nasheed is now in exile in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but other members of the political opposition are still languishing behind bars on the Indian Ocean island nation.

The current political crisis was sparked by a surprise Supreme Court decision on 1 February 2018 that overturned the conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed and ordered the release and re-trial of other members of the political opposition. 

Instead of implementing the Supreme Court’s order, the Government of President Abdulla Yameen began arbitrarily detaining members of the political opposition. On 5 February 2018, President Yameen declared a State of Emergency, suspending several clauses of the constitution, including protections for the right to freedom of assembly, and suspending basic safeguards around the security forces’ powers to arrest, detain, seize and search property. President Yameen has justified the state of emergency by saying that the Supreme Court’s order would have disrupted “the system of checks and balances”.

Take action

Please write immediately in English or Dhivehi urging authorities to:

  • Order the immediate release of the five people who have been arbitrarily arrested unless they are to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence, in line with international law and standards;
  • Uphold the Supreme Court decision to release and re-try members of the political opposition;
  • Ensure that activists, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and members of the political opposition are able to peacefully exercise their human rights without fear of punishment, reprisal or intimidation.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 21 MARCH 2018 TO:
Major General Ahmed Shiyam
Chief of Defence Force
Maldives National Defence Force
Ameeruahumadhu magu, Malé
Republic of Maldives
Fax: +960 3325525
Email: admin@defence.gov.mv
Twitter: @MVDefence
Salutation: Dear Major General

Attorney General
Uz Mohamed Anil
H. Velaanaage, 6th Floor
Ameer Ahmed Magu, Malé 20096, Republic of Maldives
Fax: +960 3314109
Email: bureau@agoffice.gov.mv
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

And send copies to:
Foreign Secretary
Ali Naseer Mohamed
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Malé 20077,
Republic of Maldives
Tel: +960 3304120
Email: ali.mohamed@foreign.gov.mv

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.