Mohamed Nasheed; MDP11

Ex president transferred to high security prison

Former president Mohamed Nasheed was transferred from a low security prison to a maximum security jail located close to the capital Malé last night.

The opposition leader’s lawyers have raised concern over what they say is an arbitrary transfer from one jail to another which is located on two different islands, and say his family was not given notice before the transfer.

Lawyers said they had visited Nasheed in Asseyri jail on Himmafushi Island on Monday afternoon but the corrections department had not informed them of an impending transfer.

Nasheed’s family and the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party have repeatedly expressed concern over alleged plots by the government to assassinate the opposition leader. But the government has dismissed the allegations as slanderous and baseless.

The opposition is meanwhile planning a 25,000 strong march in the capital Malé on Friday demanding the government free Nasheed and other politicians.

The former president is serving a 13-year jail term on terrorism charges relating to the detention of a judge during his tenure. He was convicted on March 13, but was held under police custody at the Dhoonidhoo Island remand centre until his transfer to Asseyri Jail on April 21.

Home minister Umar Naseer announced Nasheed’s transfer to Maafushi Jail at 10:30pm last night in a tweet.

The home ministry has previously said the special apartment constructed for Nasheed measures 264-square foot, with a sitting room and is furnished with air-conditioning, a television and VCD player.

The special apartment will also have a 1,087 square foot garden and Nasheed would be able to “live with other inmate friends.”

Nasheed’s lawyers have also raised concern over the identity of the “inmate friends” Nasheed is to be incarcerated with, and say the prison apartment is located adjacent to the prison garbage dump and is “highly unsanitary.”

The human rights commission of the Maldives had previously said old cells at the location were unfit for human habitation.

Lawyers said family visits and phone calls to the family have been restricted since his transfer to jail.

However, the home ministry says the former president’s family and supporters have no reason for concern stating: “Nasheed is fully under the security and protection of Maldives Correctional Services. He will get the security and protection from the correctional services. Plus he is a VIP prisoner, so he will be offered comforts including TV and so on”.

“This is not a sudden transfer,” home ministry spokesperson Thazmeel Abdul Samad said, adding Nasheed was transferred to Maafushi as soon as the prison apartment was completed.

Nasheed’s trial was widely criticised by foreign governments, international human rights organisations and the UN for its lack of due process.

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  1. Why do you always distort the truth. Aren't protesters planning to converge on the prison facilities? Wasn't the transfer to new facility talked about just after his conviction? Haven't the MDP Megaphone Band disbanded in parliament just bcoz they value their committee allowance more than anni's freedom

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