Friday, July 24, 2015

The government in the Maldives has decided to commute a prison term handed down to former President Mohamed Nasheed to time under house arrest.

The Maldivian government, which has been facing mounting international pressure over the conviction of Nasheed, had already moved him from prison and placed him under house arrest.

On Friday, however, his international lawyer, Jared Genser, confirmed that Nasheed’s 13-year prison sentence has been commuted to a term under house arrest.

“The government of the Maldives has permanently moved President Nasheed to house arrest for the balance of his 13-year term in prison,” Genser told reporters in the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo.

Earlier on Friday, the government also announced, “The prosecutor-general of the Maldives has decided to appeal the case of former President Mohamed Nasheed.”

Nasheed, who was sentenced to 13 years in March, has complained to the United Nations about “the violation of some fundamental rights” in his trial, adding that his lawyers had “inadequate time to prepare his defense.”

He was arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act and charged for authorizing the detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012, when he was the country’s president.

Fair or unfair?

In May, the United Nations Human Rights Office assessed the trial of Nasheed as “vastly unfair” after a UN delegation to the Maldives found the conviction of the former president to be biased.

 Mona Rishmawi, who headed the mission to the Maldives, said Nasheed’s trial had been “politically biased, inadequate and subject to external influence.”

However, the Maldivian government says the former president had received a fair trial.

Nasheed was the first democratically-elected president of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012.

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