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Clooney Wins U.N. Support in Maldives Case
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Amal Clooney with Laila Ali, the wife of Mohamed Nasheer. Photo courtesy of the Independent.

Summary: On Friday, the U.N. ruled in favor of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically-elected president who was imprisoned by his country on terrorist charges.

On Friday, a United Nations tribunal found the imprisonment of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed to be unlawful. They concluded his trial was unfair and that his prosecution was more than likely politically motivated. They further stated he should be freed, The New York Times reports.

  
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The Maldives foreign ministry rebuts the U.N.’s conclusion. It says the tribunal’s conclusions are premature and that it will not act on the recommendations.

Nasheed’s lawyer, international human rights attorney Amal Clooney, expressed at a recent news conference that Nasheed’s containment is “part of a larger crackdown on freedom and the rule of law.”

At the conference, Clooney was joined by Nasheed’s wife of 21 years, Laila Ali.

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“Today is an extraordinary day for me, my husband and my family,” Ali said in London to the Independent. “We are extremely grateful for this decision.”

As we previously reported, Nasheed is currently serving a 13-year-sentence. He is being held on terrorist charges for ordering the arrest of a judge when he was president three years ago. Human rights groups denounced Nasheed’s arrest and conviction, expressing what the U.N. concluded—that his prosecution was political in nature.



Nasheed was the country’s first democratically-elected leader. The current government worked to overthrow him, according to the Independent. So far, he has served six months of his 13-year sentence.

At the conference, Clooney explained the dangerous shift in Maldives’ government.

“The Maldives is currently shifting away from an alliance with the U.S. (toward) a new partnership with China and Saudi Arabia,” she said. “It is also shifting away from religious moderation towards more extremism. And it’s actually estimated that today on a per capita basis the Maldives has the highest rate of recruitment to ISIS.”

Nasheed’s legal team is comprised of Clooney, his wife Ali, Geoffrey Robertson, and Jared Gesner. The team is fighting for sanction and travel bans against Maldives officials until Nasheed is freed, and they are working pro bono.

The Maldives government is being represented by Cherie Blair, human rights attorney and wife of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, and her firm Omnia Strategy. In September, the Independent reported that Blair declared Clooney’s call for sanctions was “inappropriate and unjustified.”



 

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