Maldives: Amnesty International declares Joint Opposition spokesperson Prisoner of Conscience

Male [Maldives], May 11 (ANI): Amnesty International on Friday called on the Maldivian government to release Galolhu-South constituency Member of Parliament and Joint Opposition spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof and declared him a Prisoner of Conscience (PoC).

The charges against the lawmaker have previously been denounced as 'frivolous' and politically motivated, the organization noted in a statement, according to Maldivian TV channel RaajjeTV.

Amnesty said that the parliamentarian has been a victim of the government's 'wave of repression' ever since he left the ruling party.

Mahloof, who was also a founding member of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the Maldivian ruling party explained his repeated arrests on numerous occasions

Earlier in May, Mahloof has appealed to Amnesty International to declare him a Prisoner of Conscience (PoC) and save him from the "danger".

"I would be really grateful if Amnesty International could declare me as a Prisoner of Conscience and do whatever is possible to save me from this danger," Mahloof said in a statement.

The South-Galolhu MP, in the statement, further added, "If we are unable to change this government, with all the cases prosecuted against me he will be facing a jail sentence of more than 20 years."

"Since 2010, I was arrested over 25 times from peaceful protests and remanded for months in prison," he wrote in the statement.

On June 25, 2016, he was jailed for 11 months on two different cases of protesting.

In May 2017, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled that he was detained arbitrarily and that he should be released immediately and should be compensated.

In July 2017, he was again accused of assaulting military officers during a parliament sitting and was banned from traveling for two months for investigation.

He returned to the Maldives on January 31 and has been arrested four times and summoned by police seven times for investigation on six different charges.

On February 22, he was arrested under State of Emergency while "peacefully" participating in a "lawful" gathering inside Maldivian Democratic Party's activity centre.

The last time Amnesty International declared a Maldivian as a PoC was on March 29, 2017, for Thayyib Shaheem, a social media activist, soon after he was arrested for tweeting and remanded for 25 days. (ANI)