Dear Dr Hassan Saeed,
I would like to express the following comments in response to your letter in The Guardian today, ‘Violent protests in the Maldives’.
Rather than suggesting that the recent increase of violent behaviour in the Maldives is a direct result of MDP protests, it would seem more obviously related to the state-sponsored fundamentalism and lack of freedom of speech which has been endemic over the last few months.
This has engendered an increasingly intolerant attitude in Maldivian society, silencing scholars promoting a moderate, progressive version of Islam and spawning hate-mongering through threatening videos and websites etc.
With regard to your assertion that Mr Nasheed is being ‘investigated’ by your ‘completely independent’ judicial system, the fact is that he has been investigated by the police, who can not be independent of the government, since they take their orders from the Minister of Home Affairs.
Furthermore, Mr Nasheed is being treated differently from other people by the courts, for example, prioritising his case, whilst there are 2000 criminal cases, including murder, child abuse and rape, pending for years in the criminal courts. Most of the accused in these cases are at liberty.
Lastly, whilst you ask that Amnesty International report alleged abuses to the Human Rights Commission and the Police Integrity Commission, the recommendations of these institutions are not meaningfully considered by your government.
The policeman Mr Ali Ahmed was found in violation of law by the Police Integrity Commission on charges of abuse and criminal assault and it was recommended that he be dismissed. However, your Home Minister decided to reward him by giving him a promotion. When the Prosecutor General filed charges against him, the ‘independent judiciary’ dismissed the charges on procedural grounds.
The future of democracy must be based on freedom of speech and respect for human rights, as outlined in the celebrity letter.
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