An Evening with President Mohamed Nasheed
Activist, Journalist, Prisoner of Conscience, President of The Maldives (2008-2012)
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
1900 K Street, 12th Floor
Please join Freedom Now and Dechert for an evening with President Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives and honorary co-chair of Freedom Now.
An activist, journalist, and politician, President Nasheed served as the first democratically-elected President of the Maldives before a coup removed him from office in 2012. He was falsely accused of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison by the Maldivian government in February 2015 in a bid to silence him and end his political career. He was released in early 2016 after a coordinated international campaign by Freedom Now.
Since his release from prison, President Nasheed has organized the political opposition to the current regime, highlighting the gross and ongoing human rights abuses in his country being committed by President Abdulla Yameen in a bid to maintain his iron grip on power. In recognition of his tireless commitment to exposing human rights violations, he was awarded the 2017 Courage Award by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on February 22. President Nasheed is currently living in the UK with his family where he remains engaged in human rights in the Maldives and pursuing other interests of global concern, including arbitrary detention, Islamic radicalism, and climate change.
Please join us to hear President Nasheed discuss his experiences and his continued pursuit of a more just and equitable world.
Please RSVP with your name and affiliation to khorberg [at] freedom-now [dot] org.
Freedom Now is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, founded in 2001, with charitable status in the US and the UK. The organization promotes respect for human rights and rule of law worldwide by helping to free prisoners of conscience — individuals wrongly imprisoned because of their exercise of fundamental rights, such as their right to freedom of expression, freedom of belief, or freedom of peaceful assembly, among others.
Freedom Now achieves its goal through a multi-pronged strategy that combines legal representation and political and public relations advocacy on behalf of individuals, with the aim of supporting individual liberty and conscience and eliminating the practice of arbitrary detention. Since its founding, Freedom Now has worked on 61 campaigns in 26 countries, helping to free more than 100 people. Some of the individuals we have helped are well known internationally, such as Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma and President Nasheed from the Maldives, while others are less visible abroad but critically important in their countries, such as the Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid. You can learn more about our work and our cases here: www.freedom-now.org.
Mohamed Nasheed is an activist, journalist, and politician who served as the first democratically-elected president of the Maldives. President Nasheed made a name for himself as a dissident journalist, regularly challenging the authoritarian regime of former President Maumoon Gayoom. As a result of his outspoken criticism, he was repeatedly arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. In 2003, President Nasheed formed the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party and in 2008, on a platform of human rights and democratic principles, he was elected president in the country’s first multi-party democratic elections, sweeping away 30 years of one-man rule. President Nasheed used his position as a platform for democratic reforms and climate activism. His work fighting to address climate change at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit was captured in the acclaimed documentary The Island President, available on Netflix. President Nasheed’s term in office was cut short in 2012 by a coup, and he was later arrested on false charges intended to silence him and his political party, which remained popular among the people. Freedom Now worked on his case, along with Amal Clooney and Ben Emmerson QC, and in October 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion finding President Nasheed’s detention to be in violation of international law and called on the Maldivian government to release him. After an escalating advocacy campaign by Freedom Now and his pro bono legal team, the government allowed President Nasheed to travel to the UK on medical leave in late January 2016. In May 2016, the UK government granted him asylum. The situation in the Maldives continues to deteriorate. Last year, a new criminal defamation law was adopted, numerous independent media outlets were shut down, the Home Ministry enforced a ban on street protests, and the Government issued a new arrest warrant for President Nasheed. He will be in Washington advocating for greater engagement by the United States to help restore democracy to the Maldives.