Former president Nasheed arrested in Male, Maldives. Image via ImpactPartners
Former president Nasheed arrested in Male, Maldives

Update (1/18/16): Nasheed was allowed to leave prison and the Maldives in order to get needed surgery in Britain. But apparently he’s been asked to return to Maldives once recovered to serve the rest of his sentence.

Update (4/30/15): Amal Clooney writes an impassioned plea in the Guardian: “Release Mohamed Nasheed – an innocent man and the Maldives’ great hope“.


 

On Sunday (February 22), former president Mohamed Nasheed was arrested in the Maldives, refused bail by the court, and faces 10-15 years in prison. Since his arrest he was reportedly injured by the police and denied legal representation. He was brought into custody under an anti-terror law, accused of using the military to arrest a senior judge during his time in office. The first democratically elected president of the Maldives, President Nasheed was the subject of the Independent Lens documentary The Island President (PBS, 2013), which won a Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award and the International Documentary Association Pare Lorentz Award.

As Anthony Kaufman on Indiewire notes, the documentary community is rallying around Nasheed, and there’s even a Twitter hashtag (#FreeNasheedNow) to publicize his situation and mobilize support.

“We are concerned at recent developments in the Maldives, including the arrest and manhandling of former president Nasheed,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement issued in New Delhi.

More from Kaufman: “Officials from the U.S., United Nations, India and Canada have condemned the arrest. But as The Island President showed so effectively and amusingly, it’s hard to get noticed when you’re a small and slowly disappearing island nation of some 350,000 people. But what made Nasheed such a great film character and a great individual is that he managed to make waves that went beyond his country’s borders.”

 

Video of police dragging Nasheed to court: