Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia

ACHR Index: PR/ML/03/08/05
19 August 2005

Over 350 political activists arrested in Maldives
India and UN urged to intervene

New Delhi:  Asian Centre for Human Rights today urged the government of India and the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan to intervene with the government of Maldives for the release of Chairperson of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, Mohamed Nasheed and over 150 other political detainees arrested since 12 August 2005. Nasheed was arrested while holding a silent protest in commemoration of the anniversary of the brutal crackdown on the pro-democracy supporters on 12 August 2004. His health condition has been deteriorating since he started hunger strike on 16 August 2005 for the release of the political detainees.

In a major crackdown across Maldives since 12 August 2005, about 350 suspected activists of the MDP have been arrested. While many have been released after intimidation and signing blank papers, over 150 persons reportedly remain in detention. Many detainees are being held incommunicado and many have been tortured.

“The government of Maldives has allowed the registration of political parties in June 2005 but continues to ban any political activity. And President Gayoom is trying to reverse the reform processes through arrest, detention and torture of political activist. Maldives is also the only country in the world which allows the registration of political parties but not the non-governmental organizations such as Human Rights Association of Maldives. ” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism and the denial of basic political freedom to the citizens by the governments and terrorism pose the most serious threat to the stability of South Asia. India and the United Nations must play a crucial role to strengthen democracy in South Asia.  

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the government of India and the UN Secretary General to consider the situation in Maldives at par with the situation in Nepal and intervene with President Gayoom for releasing MDP leader, Mohamed Nasheed and other political detainees, ensure international human rights standards on fair trials and due process of law for those who are arrested and likely to be charged, and initiate national reconciliation process with MDP to ensure the establishment of a stable, prosperous and democratic Maldives.


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