The Island President is Behind Bars

Dr Sylvia Earle presented Nasheed with the Mission Blue Award in 2014

Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives and international champion of climate change action, was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to thirteen years in prison this month. Nasheed is accused of ordering the arrest of a Maldivian judge in 2012 when he was still in office. Accusations aside, Nasheed’s defense has been stillborn: the court scheduled a hearing within two hours of his arrest and prevented the defense team from appearing in court because they were required to register two days in advance. As a result of this judiciary obstructionism, Nasheed’s own lawyers have quit the trial, citing biased proceedings and resultant inability to craft a defense. His confinement will be a “prison apartment” according to government officials. The Minister of Home Affairs of the Maldives recently tweeted, “Nasheed’s 264 sqft Prison apartment: 1room, sitting room, furnished, AC, TV, VCD player. Garden 1087 sqft. Live with other inmate-friends”. The Island President is 47 and his sentence is scheduled to finish when he is 60 years old.

Dr. Sylvia Earle presented Nasheed with the Mission Blue Award in 2014 (Photo by Courtney Mattison)

Nasheed is an international champion of climate change action and a recipient of the Mission Blue award, with which Dr. Earle honored Mr. Nasheed at the Blue Ocean Film Festival 2014 for his distinguished work advocating for carbon abatement in the face of sea level rise that especially threatens very low-lying nations like the Maldives. A highlight of the film festival was the screening of the 2011 film The Island President, a feature documentary that details Mr. Nasheed’s struggle to convince the world community to act on climate change and protect the impending flooding of the 1200 islands of the Maldives. As president, Mr. Nasheed had promised to make the island —> Read More