Concerns on Recent Developments in Maldives

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 27, 2015

Question: Does the United States have any comment on the arrest of the former Maldivian Defense Minister?

Answer: The United States is deeply troubled by recent developments in Maldives that call into question that nation’s commitment to democracy and individual human rights. These developments include the conviction of former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison on weapons charges March 26, and the March 25 arrest of Maldivian journalists under allegations of obstructing police duties.

Nazim’s trial was particularly concerning, as it was marred by the same apparent lack of appropriate criminal procedures as the recent trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed, including the inability to call the requested number of defense witnesses and concerns regarding the lack of impartiality and independence of the judges.

Freedom of the press is a fundamental democratic right, and we are in touch with Maldivian authorities to clarify why the journalists have been detained without charges.

We call on the Government of Maldives to take steps to restore confidence in its hard-fought democracy and the rule of law, including judicial independence and freedom of the press.