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Amnesty calls to free 'prisoner of conscience' MP Mahloof

Amnesty International on Friday called on the Maldives government to release top opposition lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof declaring him a prisoner of conscience.

The South-Galolhu MP faces terrorism charges after he led a protest near the main prison in Maafushi island calling on the government to implement the landmark Supreme Court order on February 1.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

The outspoken lawmaker is also facing charges of “providing false information” relate to two separate Tweets, each carrying a six-month sentence.

Amnesty in a statement said the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly have been under attack in the Maldives over recent years, and increasingly so following the government’s decision to impose a state of emergency in February.

"Amnesty International believes that Ahmed Mahloof is a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release."