The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) has appointed Member of Parliament Ahmed Mahloof as the institute’s inaugural Democracy Fellow. In doing so, MIGS recognizes and supports his struggle for democracy and human rights and stands by him as a victim of suppression in fighting trumped-up charges.
“Ahmed Mahloof is a global citizen, a father and a powerful voice for human rights and democracy at a time when we are witnessing a rise of authoritarian governments, including in the Maldives. MIGS stands with Ahmed and are proud to have him as our Democracy Fellow. We will stand with him as he fights not just for his freedom, but that of his entire country’s,” says Kyle Mathews, Executive Director at MIGS
Ahmed Maloof is a democracy and human rights champion living in the Maldives. He has served as a Maldivian Member of Parliament since 2007 and Official Spokesperson for the Joint Opposition. Since 2010 he has been arrested and put in jail over 25 times for his action in peaceful protests, serving eleven months in June 2016 for “obstructing police duty” as a protester. Later declared arbitrary detention by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, his arrest sparked international pleas for his immediate release. One month after his release he was accused of assaulting military officers during a parliamentary sitting and was henceforth banned from travelling for two months during a police investigation. He spent the following five months in exile where police later publicly announced a court-ordered travel ban.
A recent participant in the November 2017 Milan Forum for Parliamentary Action in Preventing Violent Extremism and Mass Atrocities co-organized by Parliamentarians for Global Action and MIGS, upon his return from exile to the Maldives in January 2018 he was arrested another four times, facing seven police investigations on six different charges. He was formally arrested on February 22nd during a peaceful protest inside the Maldivian Democratic Party’s headquarters.
Since April 2018 he has spent 46 days in jail and was officially placed under house arrest until the end of the trial. The democratic opposition leader may soon unjustly be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. These charges include “terrorism” for participation in peaceful protests, “obstruction of police duty” for distributing masks to protesters to protect them from pepper spray and two charges on “false report to law enforcement authorities” for tweets regarding the Maldivian Police and Correctional Service. Two more cases of charges against him are pending in the Prosecutor General’s office, but his case is moving quickly and threatens an early prosecution.
Fearing for his safety and in response to the possibility of an arbitrary 20-year sentence, Amnesty International released a statement declaring him as a Prisoner of Conscience in May 2018. Parliamentarians for Global Action has since awarded him the 2018 Defender of Democracy Award, an award designated in the past for individuals such as Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.
You can follow and support him on Twitter @AhmedMahloof
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Source URL: Medium