Int'l organizations condemn obstruction of opposition protests

International organizations have called on the Maldives government not to impede the opposing PPM-PNC's protests calling for their leader's release.

On December 25, 2022, the Criminal Court found the former president of the Maldives and leader of the opposition coalition, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, guilty of bribery and money laundering and sentenced him to eleven years in jail. The opposition has been protesting the verdict in a series of protests.

In a joint statement, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Transparency Maldives, and the Association for Democracy in the Maldives said police arrest protesters and journalists during peaceful opposition protests without giving an explanation or justification for their arrests. In the statement, the organizations strongly condemned the actions of the police.

The statement said the actions of the police were in violation of the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Maldives is a party.

"The freedoms of right to expression, peaceful assembly, and association and that of press freedom play a key role in defending human rights," the statement read.

The statement called on the Maldives Police Service to give every citizen the opportunity to participate in peaceful demonstrations without discrimination. They also called on the Human Rights Commission, National Integrity Commission as well as the Prosecutor General's Office to ensure a full investigation into the actions of the police and hold the institution and its personnel to account.