Amal Alamuddin Clooney attends a press conference at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on Oct. 15, 2014 in Athens, Greece. Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney today joined the fight for the release of imprisoned former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed.
Amal, the wife of actor George Clooney, and a team of lawyers filed a case with the United Nations calling on it to declare Nasheed’s detention a violation of international law.
“He is a political prisoner. He’s currently serving a 13-year sentence in a Maldivian prison following a sham trial,” Clooney told a news conference in Washington.
She said she hopes to get the U.N. on her side. “In the filing we ask the U.N. to rule that President Nasheed’s detention is arbitrary, illegal under international law,” she said.
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The Maldives became a democracy in 2008 after Nasheed became its first ever freely elected president. He introduced liberal reforms and called for action on climate change.
But his opponents mounted a coup in 2012, forced him to resign and tried and convicted Nasheed on terrorism charges.
“Within days he had a rushed prosecution and a trial often held at night. And in less than three weeks had been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced, Clooney said.
Nasheed’s wife, Laila Ali, who was also at the news conference, said her husband is being held most of the time in solitary confinement.
“I’m very worried, really worried about his health and safety. But my husband remains strong and resolute. He’s determined to fight this injustice until his last breath,” Ali said.
Nasheed began as a dissident journalist and was arrested 20 times over a 15-year period. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. That is the banner under which my husband has always stood,” his wife said.
Clooney agreed, saying, “He is also a man who has spent a lifetime advocating for democracy and for human rights.”
Nasheed’s legal team is making five key points in the U.N. filing.
1. Nasheed’s trial was politically motivated to remove him from office.
2. Nasheed was denied the presumption of innocence.
3. The court was biased because two judges submitted witness statements.
4. Nasheed was denied right to counsel.
5. Nasheed was physically abused.
“The record of legal violations is clear. And we hope that as a result of today’s filing the U.N. will demand that the government of the Maldives take the only action that can redress this injustice, free President Nasheed,” said Clooney.
She vowed not to give up. “As his lawyers, we will not rest until Nasheed is released.”
The legal team is also asking the U.S. government to pressure the Maldives to free Nasheed.
Source: ABC News Politics