Whale shark sustains serious injuries from boat propellers

The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSR) has revealed photos of a whale shark with severe injuries caused by a boat propellor.

The organisation posted photos of a whale shark it has named Naococco with deep cuts and wounds.

“It seems Naococco is the latest shark to fall foul of a boat propeller. The images below show the extent of the injuries which are among the worst we’ve seen,” reads the Facebook post.

[bxslider id=”whale-shark-damage-propellor”]

Naococco was last seen uninjured on June 1, the MWSRP said.

Here’s what he looked like before he was hit by the boat’s propellors:

Whale Shark damage 5

Whale sharks are protected in the Maldives.

The MWSRP is a research-based conservation charity dedicated to study the whale shark and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives and the greater Indian Ocean.

The whale shark’s injuries “highlights the danger that vessels pose to these sharks,” the MWSRP suggested.

“We urge all users of the area to slow down below the 10kts speed limit and keep a dedicated spotter watching ahead of the path of the vessel for the duration of the time they are traveling through the S.A. MPA [the Southern Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area].

“The MWSRP and the network of guides and marine biologists will be monitoring Naococco’s progress and we hope he will defy the odds and make a full recovery.”

The southern tip of Ari atoll, a year-long whale shark aggregation site, was declared a marine protected area (MPA) in June 2009.

It is prohibited to anchor, mine for coral or sand or dump rubbish in MPAs. Fishing and any other activity which may cause damage to marine life is also forbidden.

The MWSRP was not responding to inquiries despite repeated attempts.

According to a report by a marine researcher on the economic value of whale sharks in Maldives,  the estimated direct expenditures for whale shark focused tourism in the South Ari Marine Protected Area for 2012 and 2013 accounted for US$7.6 and $9.4 million respectively.

The figures are based on an estimate of 72,000–78,000 tourists who are involved in whale shark excursions annually.

In 2010, the MWSRP warned that excessive human interaction with whale sharks in South Ari Atoll could eventually lead to the species leaving the area permanently, after receiving reports of tourists touching and even attempting to ride the sharks.


Pregnant woman dies of dengue fever

An 18-year-old pregnant woman died of dengue fever at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital last night in the second death from the mosquito-borne disease this year.

The woman died after going into shock around 2:20am, IGMH media official Zeenath Ali Habeeb told Minivan News. The patient was three months pregnant and was admitted on Thursday with a high fever, she said.

The hospital declined to provide personal information, but local media has identified the deceased as Hamdha Hassan, from Noonu Maalhendhoo.

A migrant worker had also died of dengue in Gaaf Alif Kooddoo last week as the Health Protection Agency (HPA) warned of the rapid spread of dengue across the Maldives.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, health minister Iruthisham Adam revealed that 374 cases of dengue has been reported so far this year, of which 125 were reported from Malé. Some 112 cases have been reported in June.

The incidence of dengue was “alarming,” she said, and appealed for public cooperation with mosquito control programmes.

Dr Ahmed Faisal from the IGMH said most patients admitted at hospitals with dengue were at a dangerous stage and expressed concern with the spread of dengue among migrant workers.

Last year, the health ministry said dengue fever has become endemic in the Maldives since 2004 with annual outbreaks.

A relatively severe outbreak of dengue in 2011 saw a record high 12 fatalities.

A total of 1,083 dengue cases were reported in the Maldives in 2012. The HPA has previously said that construction workers face an increased risk.

Earlier this month, the HPA issued an alert warning of the spread of dengue and viral fever in Malé and the atolls and advised precautionary measures to control mosquito breeding during the rainy season.

The agency advised the public to empty stagnant water from containers, throw trash into dustbins, and keep containers sealed to prevent water from accumulating.

The HPA also advised wearing clothes that hide the skin, using mosquito repellants, and keeping doors and windows closed during dawn and dusk.

The agency has stressed the importance of cleanliness and hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease and advised seeking medical assistance if a fever persists for more than three days.

Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.

Dr Faisal said the worst incidence of dengue has been reported from Alif Alif and Alif Dhaal atolls as well as Baa Thulhaadhoo and Malé.

The most dangerous stage of dengue is when the fever subsides after three days, he warned, and advised seeking medical attention if symptoms such as bleeding and fatigue persist.

He also advised drinking lots of liquid and resting to recover from the fever and warned against the use of unprescribed strong medicines.


President ratifies amendment to constitution

President Abdulla Yameen has ratified today a constitutional amendment setting new age limits of 30-65 years for presidency.

The parliament yesterday passed the first amendment to the constitution with overwhelming trip artisan support.

A total of 78 MPs of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives-Maldives Development Alliance (PPM-MDA) coalition and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) voted in favour of the proposed change.

The ruling coalition is seeking to replace vice-president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed with tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb, who is 33 and ineligible for the post.

The constitution previously stated that presidential and vice presidential candidates must be 35 years of age.

Pro-government MPs have publicly accused Jameel of disloyalty and incompetence, but opposition politicians and some media outlets have claimed that President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a loyal deputy ahead of a life-threatening surgery.

Several PPM MPs have said that Adeeb will become the next vice president, but Jameel can only be replaced if he either resigns or is impeached with a two-third majority of parliament.

The revision to article 109(c) marks the first time the constitution has been changed since its adoption in August 2008.

The MDP and JP parliamentary groups issued three-line whips Tuesday night for its MPs to back the amendment, prompting speculation of a deal with the government, after former President Mohamed Nasheed’s house arrest was extended to eight weeks.

MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that the main opposition party stood to gain more from backing the amendments than opposing it.

The amendment was submitted earlier this month by MDA MP Mohamed Ismail, who said during the preliminary debate that he proposed the 65-year cap as the president should be “young, intelligent, daring, active, and energetic.”


MDP vice-president, arrested in the middle of a speech, released

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s vice-president, Mohamed Shifaz, was arrested in the middle of a speech and detained for two hours last night.

Police entered the opposition’s headquarters at Artificial Beach around midnight without a court warrant and arrested Shifaz while he was addressing a crowd of supporters.

Officers said Shifaz had been arrested for disturbing the peace by using loud speakers beyond midnight.

The police in May had banned the use of loud speakers beyond 11pm and protests beyond midnight. The opposition has condemned the move as an obstruction of freedom of assembly and expression.

“I was taken to the police headquarters and advised not to repeat my actions. I told them that advising me will not stop us from exercising our right to freedom of expression. My arrest is a blatant obstruction of that right,” Shifaz told Minivan News.

He was released at 2am.

The police also arrested two others from the opposition Haruge for obstruction of police duty. The pair were also released in the early hours of the morning.

The MDP has condemned the police’s actions, claiming they had switched off the loud speakers on the street by midnight.

Despite Shifaz’s arrest, the opposition rally continued till 1am.

The rally was held to prepare for the MDP’s tenth anniversary on June 26, Friday. The party has announced it will hold a march at 10pm on Friday.

Supporters have highlighted the party’s achievements on social media with the hashtag #MDP10years.

The MDP was the first political party to register in the Maldives.

Photo from social media


CSC to challenge ruling on sick leave allowance

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has decided to challenge an Employment Tribunal ruling that established that the commission cannot deduct a civil servant’s service allowance for sick leave.

A CSC official told local media today that the commission will appeal the ruling at the High Court this week.

The tribunal last Wednesday ruled in favour of a senior project officer at the fisheries minister in a dispute with the commission. Naseef Mohamed had contended that the deduction of MVR66.76 from his service allowance in January when he called in sick for a day was arbitrary.

The tribunal ordered the commission to reimburse the deducted amount within 14 days.

The three members on the tribunal ruled unanimously that deducting the service allowance does not fit any of the circumstances specified in the Employment Act that allow deduction of salary or wage payments.

The commission reportedly began imposing pay cuts for sick days under new civil service regulations enacted in December.

All employees of the fisheries ministry have meanwhile signed a petition to permanent secretary Dr Abdulla Naseer seeking reimbursement of deductions from their service allowance.


President Yameen authorised Nasheed’s transfer to house arrest

President Abdulla Yameen authorised former President Mohamed Nasheed’s transfer to house arrest today, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has told Minivan News.

President Yameen made the decision at a meeting at 1:00pm this afternoon and sought advice from the attorney general, Adeeb said.

Home minister Umar Naseer was reluctant to approve the transfer, Adeeb added, but the president made the decision.

A family member told Minivan News that Nasheed was brought home around 4:00pm ahead of an appointment for an MRI scan on Thursday.

The opposition leader was brought to Malé around 8:30am this morning to consult a nerve specialist at the ADK private hospital. Nasheed was briefly detained at a custodial centre in the capital before being taken to his wife’s residence Yaagoothuge.

An official from the Maldives Corrections Service (MCS) told local media that Nasheed was transferred to house arrest for three days based on doctor’s advice.

The medical tests recommended by the doctor will take three days, the official said, after which Nasheed will be taken back to the Maafushi prison.

Adeeb said the duration of Nasheed’s house arrest will depend on the doctor’s advice.

The tourism minister is taking over as acting home minister tonight with Naseer due to depart for Singapore.

Nasheed’s lawyers have previously said he was being denied access to specialist medical attention despite recommendations from doctors.

The government had refused to authorise tests after doctors at the Maafushi Jail health centre and at a Malé military clinic recommended in May that he get an MRI scan, the lawyers said.

Nasheed was found guilty of terrorism in March over the military’s detention of a judge during his tenure and sentenced to 13 years in jail.

The 19-day terrorism trial was widely criticised over its apparent lack of due process and international pressure on the government to release the opposition leader has been growing in recent weeks.

MCS media official Moosa Rameez told Minivan News earlier today that the prison authorities will arrange the MRI scan.

Senior members of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) along with the former president’s family members and supporters gathered outside the Malé jail this afternoon when Nasheed was brought to the custodial centre from the hospital.

Following his transfer to house arrest, several MDP MPs and politicians have started posting selfies with the former president on Twitter.

Supporters have also taken to social media to express joy over the former president’s reprieve from custody. Nasheed has been held in detention since his arrest on February 22, a day before the surprise terrorism trial.


Criticism mounts against Supreme Court

The Supreme Court judgment, which bars the human rights watchdog from communicating with foreign organizations, appears to weaken its ability to engage with the UN human rights system and is “yet another example of the judiciary undermining human rights protection in the Maldives,” a UN rights chief has said.

The apex court on Tuesday declared a rights assessment submitted to the UN by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) as unlawful, and issued a legally binding 11-point guideline.

The guideline requires the HRCM to communicate with foreign bodies through relevant government institutions, and warn against causing damage to the reputation of the Maldives.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement on Friday said it was “completely unacceptable” for the Supreme Court to impose restrictions on the commission’s engagement with international bodies.

“In this case, the Supreme Court appears to be yet again overreaching its mandate by playing a legislative role. Laws regulating the very important human rights monitoring and reporting work of civil society and independent institutions must be transparently adopted by legislative bodies following wide consultations and open debate, in line with international human rights and standards,” he said.

The guideline was issued under controversial suomoto regulations that allow the Supreme Court to prosecute and pass judgment.

The charges relate to an HRCM report to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, in which the commission said the Supreme Court controlled and influenced the lower courts to the detriment of the Maldivian judiciary.

The UPR studies the human rights record of all 193 UN member states and is aimed at supporting and expanding the protection of human rights.

The Maldives underwent a second inspection in May. Nations across the world criticized the Maldives over the politicization of the judiciary and raised concern over the Supreme Court’s prosecution of HRCM.

Zeid reminded the government that it had committed to ensuring the HRCM’s independence after the UPR. The foreign ministry had also committed to ensure that the HRCM and other civil society groups would be able to participate in international mechanisms without reprisals.

Noting that three new commissioners are to be appointed for August and September, Zeid said: “The appointments must be made through a participatory, transparent and consultative selection process, with the extensive involvement of civil society.

“New commissioners must be selected on the basis of their proven commitment to human rights, integrity and independence, not their political loyalties.”

President Abdulla Yameen has nominated a former MP of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), the wife of a current PPM MP and a senior official at the gender ministry for the HRCM. The three are expected to gain parliamentary approval as the ruling coalition enjoys a comfortable majority in the parliament.

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), a Geneva-based advocacy group, has said the Supreme Court’s ruling is a clear breach of the Maldives’ membership of the UN human rights council.

The Maldives was first elected to the council in 2010 and re-elected for a second term in November 2013.

“For a member state of the UN Human Rights Council to retaliate against a national human rights institution for providing a report to the council is tantamount to contempt and is plainly incompatible with membership of that body,” ISHR Program Manager, Eleanor Openshaw.

The Asian Center for Human Rights has also called for Maldives to be suspended from the council over the imprisonment of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and other politicians.

Zeid, in his statement also said: “We have long been concerned about the deeply flawed role of the judiciary in the Maldives, including in the case against former president Nasheed.”

The UN Special Rapporteurs on independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, and on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst have described the Supreme Court verdict “an act of reprisal” and urged the court to reconsider its verdict.

In March last year, the Supreme Court had sacked the Elections Commission’s president and vice-president when they criticized a 16-point electoral guideline issued by the court after it annulled the first round of presidential elections in September 2013.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-corruption watchdog was not authorized to suspend government contracts even if they suspected major corruption.

The president of the Anti – Corruption Commission at the time said the ruling rendered the ACC powerless to stop corruption.


The Supreme Court’s ‘power grab’

The Supreme Court issued 11-point guideline dictating the human rights watchdog’s roles and responsibilities will force it to “work like a ministry or an extension of the government instead of an independent body,” a commission member who wished to remain anonymous has said.

The apex court yesterday declared a rights assessment submitted by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) as unlawful and barred the office from communicating with foreign organizations without government oversight.

The 11-point guideline also orders the HRCM to protect unity, peace and order, and uphold Maldivian norms, faith, etiquette and the rule of law.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), civil society organizations and lawyers have also said the guideline undermines the commission’s independence, and have said the Supreme Court has infringed on the parliament’s mandate by “writing laws” for the HRCM.

The MDP noted the ruling was issued under controversial suo-moto regulations that allow the Supreme Court to prosecute and pass judgment.

“While the guardian of independent institutions is the parliament, the Supreme Court created a guideline and gave the verdict on charges the court itself brought against the HRCM, we note with concern that this verdict allows an independent institution created by the constitution to lose its independence,” the MDP said in a statement today.

Charges of treason were first pressed in September 2014 after the HRCM publicized a report it had submitted to the UN human rights council for the Maldives’ Universal Periodic Review.

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed said the report was biased, encouraged terrorists and undermined judicial independence in the Maldives.

MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy said: “This is very concerning; this whole case was based on threatening an independent institution with unconstitutional charges because the commission fulfilled its constitutional and international obligations.”

Only the parliament can formulate guidelines for the state’s offices, he said. The guideline will bar the HRCM from investigating human rights violations without state approval as it requires the commission to cooperate with government offices and orders the HRCM not to overstep its mandate or “disrupt” the work of government offices.

Mohamed Thoriq Hamid, the program manager of advocacy NGO Transparency Maldives, said the verdict is part of “a continuing trend” in which the Supreme Court is undermining the work of the state’s independent institutions.

In March last year, the apex court sacked the Election Commission’s president and vice-president when they criticised a 16-point electoral guideline issued by the Supreme Court after annulling the first round of presidential elections in September 2013.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the Anti-Corruption Commission was not authorized to suspend contracts even if they suspected corruption. The ACC president Hassan Luthfee at the time said the ruling rendered the ACC powerless to stop corruption even if it was carried out on a large scale.

Shahindha Ismail. the executive director of Maldivian Democracy Network, said the Supreme Court is “imposing more serious problems” on HRCM rather than “allying with the commission to overcome existing challenges”.

“This verdict just destroys all the work done for the promotion of democratic principles and the protection of Human Rights all over the world,” she added.

A lawyer who wished to remain anonymous said the Supreme Court’s verdict was an “unconstitutional power grab.”

“What we see in other democratic countries is judicial activism, but this case shows that what is going on here is judicial extremism,” he said.

The guideline has sparked outrage on Twitter.

The former speaker of Majlis, MP Abdulla Shahid said: “Another sad and horrifyingly wicked day for democracy and Human Rights in the Maldives.”


Q&A: Former First Lady Laila Ali says Nasheed asked his daughters to forgive his jailers

Former President Mohamed ‘Anni’ Nasheed was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison on his 21st wedding anniversary, on March 13.

Following is a translation of a Raajje.mv interview with Nasheed’s wife, Laila Ali. This is the first time the former first lady spoke to local media on the struggle she and her daughters have faced throughout Nasheed’s long campaign for democracy in the Maldives.

Nasheed has two daughters, Meera Nasheed and Zaya Nasheed.

Raajje.mv: Were you ever scared of Nasheed getting arrested?

Laila Ali: No, it’s not even an issue. I knew a simple thing [Nasheed did] could put him in jail then. The chances of him getting arrested were greater before [during President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s regime] than now. Once when Anni was under house arrest, a BBC reporter asked me for an interview. I hesitated at first, but then thought I would give the interview, no matter what happens.

Raaje.mv: How did you feel when Nasheed was taken to jail?

LA: It is not easy for me to share what I go through. I’m not the kind of person to cry and stay in bed. My children would never have seen me in that state. When Anni was arrested, I had to consider how it might effect our children, and I had to lie to them quite a lot.

Once he was arrested two weeks before I was due to give birth to Zaya [second daughter]. He was an MP at the time. Meera [their first daughter] was four years then. I had to lie a lot as she suddenly lost a father who spent a lot of time with her. I told her he had gone to another island, that he had called when she was sleeping. Or sometimes, I would tell her there is no phone on the island he was staying at. That is how I held on. That was the most difficult thing I had to do. In one way, it’s easier now that they are older and they know what is going on.

Raajje.mv: Do your children know the nature of Nasheed’s work?

LA: They know more and more as they grow older. They did not like it earlier. They would say their father prioritized the Maldives over them. They used to complain a lot, also saying he did not give them enough time. But not anymore. They know what is happening now.

I tried to keep Anni at a distance from the kids. But how can I keep all of it at a distance after the coup? They see what is happening on TV. Our children knew how to read and write. I don’t try to keep it a secret any longer.

Raajje.mv: Does Nasheed speak of the food served in prison?

LA: No. He does not have specific preferences for food. He likes simple food. The cook at Muleeaage [former presidential palace] said he was bored from cooking the same dishes. We both like to eat simple food.

But there is a special drink he likes to have in the morning, tea with condensed milk. I get quite sad when I have that cup of tea, I think of him.

Raajje.mv: Did you notice a difference in Nasheed after February 7,8?

LA: He spent a lot of time with the children after that. He took a lot more care in allocating time for them. Even before that, he always used to help the girls with their homework.

He spent the whole month of December alone with the girls. I didn’t go. After the coup, I think he realized how much was at stake.

Raajje.mv: What is your most significant memory from the events of February 7?

LA: After the Sri Lankan Independence Day celebrations, we had just entered Muleeaage when we heard about the protests outside. Anni asked Tholhath [former Defence Minister] about the protests, and he told Anni not to worry, all is good, the military is on your side. Now, every time I see Tholhath, I remember that, because what he said did not match up with what actually happened.

Raajje.mv: Did you meet with Nasheed before he announced his resignation?

LA: I met with him much later that night. I was at another house that day. I was thinking of staying at Muleeage. I spoke to Anni twice on the phone.

My mother and family members kept telephoning me, telling me to leave, telling me it was no longer safe. But every time I checked, the military officers were keeping guard. But then at 8:30am, I saw them sit down, one of them started smoking a cigarette. That was when I thought I should leave.

I left with my daughters, and just their school books. We went to another house. We came to Yaagoothuge [Laila’s home] after sunset. At the time, Anni was at Canaryge [Nasheed’s paternal home]. I was set to leave the next day with my eldest daughter. I met him at Kenereege between 10:30 and 11:00 pm with the younger daughter, Zaya. He could not meet Meera.

Anni came to Yagoothuge the next day as I was getting ready to leave. I left as planned. I did not see much of what happened the next day.

Raajje.mv: What did you speak of during your last call?

LA: He always tried not to show any anxiety, even at the last moment. He told me everything is going to be all right, told me not to leave [Muleeage]. But I left after I saw what was happening that morning. We could feel the effect of tear gas at Muleeaage in the morning.

Especially after the security guards sat down, I decided to leave with my daughters. I thought, if an angry mob came—even if it wasn’t to hurt us—they might do anything. So I left without taking the risk.

He called me and told me that he had no choice left. He said it was the best decision for the time and that he had no choice. After that, he resigned. I can’t quite remember now if [the phone call] was before he left the military barracks or after he resigned.

[After I left Muleeage] I did not switch the TV on. I did not want my children to know. So I myself did know what was going on.

Raajje.mv: How does the cell where Nasheed is being held now compare with the Dhoonidhoo cells he used to be held in?

LA: They didn’t show me the cell this time. They said the cell was too close to where other detainees were kept. They said I would have to walk in front of their cells to go there, so they did not allow me to go.

One evening when I visited Dhoonidhoo with my daughter, I heard people calling out to him, clapping and shouting out “President” when he walked by. So I knew he was kept near other detainees.

Anni said the place was fine. There were problems with the toilet at first. But the other day, he said [the toilet] had been fixed. Nazim [former Defence Minister] is now kept in the room he was held in. Even if the cell wasn’t fine, he may not say so.

Raajje.mv: Did he say he was beaten?

LA: The day [when he was first brought to the court] he complained of pains in his shoulder due to his fall. Even after ten days. He showed me two places on his shoulder. But he is fine now after the physiotherapy. Everyone thought his thumb had been hurt the most, but it was his shoulder. The doctor went to Dhoonidhoo to examine him later as well.

Raajje.mv: Has President Abdulla Yameen spoken with you?

LA: He has never spoken to me. But we have met. I went to his inauguration as well. Once he walked by me in a hotel in Sri Lanka. He pretended not to see me. He is a friend of my father. He checked on my father until he passed away. But he doesn’t acknowledge me at all.

Raajje.mv: How would you portray President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, considering the torture inflicted on President Nasheed during his regime?

LA: Maumoon has a charisma. No matter what he does. When Maumoon does something, I think he tries to cover it up well. He wants a good reputation internationally. I don’t think Yameen has that [charisma]. He doesn’t care if what he does is right or wrong, he’s doing whatever he wants, he doesn’t even try to cover it up.

Raajje.mv: What does Nasheed do with his free time at home?

LA: He had a fish tank [smiling]. He used to check to see how many fishes had spawned. He would separate the small fishes from the bigger ones, just in case they would try to eat the little ones. Other than that he wrote books. He was getting ready to write one in Dhoonidhoo too.

Raajje.mv: Did you send President Nasheed a radio?

LA: They would not give him the first radio I sent. But he got the second one. I saw him last on Friday. He was very sad when he told me to tell Akram that he wants to listen to a programme on cricket. Now he can listen to it. But there is no TV.

Raajje.mv: Tell us of an unforgettable memory?

LA: When Meera was only four years old, Anni was banished to Angolhitheemu [in Raa Atoll]. I was due to give birth to Zaya in two weeks. He was accused of theft. It would have been easier if he had actually stolen something. That affected me a lot. I can never forget that.

I can still remember how Meera used to cry. Anni came to the hospital once after I gave birth. He took a photo with Zaya. I had to hide it from Meera. I told her that her father wasn’t in Malé. I hid the photo here and there so Meera would not see it, finally I lost it.

I do not think I will feel that kind of pain ever again. Two weeks after giving birth, I was up, dropping Meera off to school and all. She was crying all the time. Asking for her father. How could I explain to a four year old what had happened? He used to take her for a walk in the morning, take her swimming, feed her and bath her.

Raajje.mv: Did President Nasheed send a letter to your daughters?

LA: Recently, he asked for official permission and sent them a letter. It came to my hands. He told them not to harbor any hate, and to forgive. Always, even now, he speaks about forgiveness. It’s not just in public, he speaks of forgiveness even in the letter to his children.

Raajje.mv: How have people reacted after the sentence?

LA: A lot of people are coming to see me. I receive a lot of texts, a lot of calls. I have been taking fewer calls these past few days. People cry over the phone. What can I do? I have to comfort them. I know they are sad, but what can I say?