NOTICE OF PEN DEMONSTRATION
The Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN is mounting a Demonstration
Monday 10 April 2006
MALDIVES HIGH COMMISSION
22 Nottingham Place
London W1U 5NJ
(Nearest tube: Baker Street)
at 12 noon until 2pm.
A letter of appeal on behalf of our honorary members will be delivered to the High Commissioner at 1.30pm
If any members have contacts in the press please notify them of the demonstration and please encourage all media coverage
If you are able to attend please contact Lucy Popescu
at English PEN: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7713 0023
English PEN Honorary Members
Profession: Opposition politician and writer. Date of arrest: 12 August 2005. Details of arrest: Nasheed was among several members of the newly established opposition party the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to be arrested on 12 August 2005 during a peaceful protest in Malé. Nasheed was reportedly charged on 23 August 2005 with terrorism for ‘inciting violence against the president’ in a speech he made in July. Mohammed Nasheed is accused of saying President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom would face “a violent overthrow” unless he held elections or stepped down. Place of detention: Has been transferred to house arrest. Treatment in prison: Reportedly beaten after his arrest. Previous political imprisonment/problems: Has been arrested and sentenced several times in the past 15 years for his critical writings and opposition activities. First detained from August 1991-June 1993 for an article written for the popular political magazine Sangu. Re-arrested in 1994 and 1995. In 1996 he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for an article he had written. In 2000, he was elected as a member of the parliament for Malé. Six months later, in 2001 he was tried and sentenced to two and half years banishment for the theft of unspecified “government property”. In November 2003, Nasheed left the Maldives and joined Mohamed Latheef to help establish the Maldivian Democratic Party, in exile, in Sri Lanka and the UK. He was recognised as a political refugee by the British government in 2004. After about 18 months in self-proclaimed exile, Nasheed returned to Malé on 30 April 2005. Briefly detained on 2 June 2005.
Profession: journalist, human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner. Date of arrest: 12 August 2005. Details of arrest: Latheef was among several members of the newly established opposition party the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to be arrested on 12 August 2005 during a peaceful protest in Malé. She has been charged with terrorism offences for ‘instigating violence’ during the 2003 riots and allegedly throwing a stone at a policeman. The only witnesses are police officers. Latheef strongly denies these charges. She was sentenced on 18 October 2005 to ten years’ imprisonment. Previous political imprisonment/problems: Latheef was arrested on 22 September 2003 for documenting and reporting on the riots in Malé following the murder of Evan Naseem, an inmate in Maafushi prison beaten to death by security personnel on 19 September 2003. She was released in November 2003. Arrested again during a peaceful protest in Malé on 13 August 2004 along with 200 other protestors, and kept 74 days without charge. It is believed that Jennifer Latheef is being persecuted for her writing and because she is the daughter of opposition leader Mohamed Latheef, co-founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party.