Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia

ACHR Index: PR/ML/04/05
18 October 2005

ACHR condemns 10 years imprisonment of MDP activist Jeniffer Latheef

New Delhi:  Asian Centre for Human Rights condemned the sentencing of Jennifer Latheef, a well-known pro-democracy activist and Human Rights Coordinator of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, to 10 years imprisonment for alleged terrorism charges today at Maldives’ capital Male'.  She has been straight taken to the prison from the court.

Ms Jennifer Latheef, daughter of MDP spokesperson, Mr Mohammed Latheef, had been charged with terrorism for violence against the police during the civil unrest in Male' in September 2003. Her trial ended in July 2004. Yesterday, the police hunted for Ms Latheef across Male’ to deliver the summon to appear before the court for the verdict. Earlier on 13 October 2005, she was unable to attend due to illness.

Thousands of people participated in the demonstrations in September 2003 and there is no evidence to suggest that Ms Latheef was involved in any violent activity.

“This politically motivated sentencing by Kangaroo courts of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom reflects personal vendetta against the opposition leaders and the mis-use of the anti-terrorism laws. President Gayoom’s much-vaunted reforms are mere hogwash.” – Stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Center for Human Rights.

The sentence of 10 years imprisonment on Jennifer Latheef for unproven charges of violent activities is harsh by any yardstick; and her arrest and detention following the sentence is a case of arbitrary arrest and detention. The Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that it would seek the intervention of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.


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