President Nasheed was arbitrarily transferred to a maximum security jail on Maafushi Island on Monday 27 April, and is being kept in filthy conditions, in an isolated cell located next to the prison garbage dump.
The former president’s local legal team managed to visit him on Tuesday 28 April. They expressed grave concerns over the unsanitary conditions of Nasheed’s cell.
The cell is adjacent to the prison garbage dump and is infested with flies and mosquitoes. The area outside the cell, which President Nasheed has limited access to, has no shade and becomes unbearably hot during the day.
President Nasheed has been forbidden from taking exercise outside his cell, and the food is barely edible. His cell doors are locked at 9pm, and opened again only in the morning.
Moreover, the cell is situated far from the main prison and other inmates – nobody would be able to hear President Nasheed should he call out for help.
The conditions President Nasheed is being kept in are a far cry from the claims of Home Minister Umar Naseer, who has said that Nasheed is being treated as a VIP prisoner. The Home Minister added on Twitter on Monday that Nasheed is being kept in a “special apartment” inside Maafushi Jail.
President Nasheed’s international legal counsel, Jared Genser, said:
“The conditions in which the Maldivian government is holding President Nasheed is not merely disgraceful but amount to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in violation of the Convention Against Torture, to which the Maldives is a state party.”
“Those responsible for keeping Nasheed in these conditions — including President Yameen and Home Minister Umar Naseer — may be held legally responsible for the use of torture – we will take all necessary measures to hold the government to account for this mistreatment.”
Prison Guards Threaten to Use Force Against President Nasheed
In another development on Monday, prison guards at Asseyri Jail threatened to use force against President Nasheed, just prior to his departure to Maafushi Jail.
Before his transfer to Maafushi, President Nasheed was held in Asseyri jail on Himmafushi island, along with other political prisoners.
President Nasheed was informed by Correction Officials in Asseyri jail on Monday evening that he was being immediately transferred to Maafushi Jail. Nasheed asked to speak to his lawyers, but the Correction Officials refused this request. He then asked for time to pack his possessions but, again, the Correction Officials refused.
The Correction Officials then warned President Nasheed that if he did not accompany them immediately: “then we will use force against you.”