Climate Injustice: The Real History of the Maldives

Summer Gray and John Foran

In one of the world’s countries most affected by climate change, the struggle for sustainability is directly linked to the struggle for democracy. It remains an uphill battle. Despite the urgency of positive change, reform efforts are constantly—and sometimes violently—thwarted.

“MDP protest against coup and calling for elections now.” Maldives. by Dying Regime. CC BY 2.0

There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. The alternative is suicide. You just have to keep going. And you will fall. You’ll have your setbacks. But you must get up and you must keep going.

–Mohamed Nasheed, April 2014, interview[1]

The Maldives—a tiny island state without a single mountain or hill—may seem to be a world away. But what has been taking place there is a fight for the future, for everyone’s future, a fight waged within a war that we are all living through. It’s a fight for democracy, in the first instance, an old fight like countless others where a population stands up against lies, bullying, greed, power, and history. It’s also a fight for human rights against a backdrop of torture and repression. And perhaps most urgently, it’s a quiet fight on a vast front that concerns the future of life as we know it: humanity’s daunting, dogged struggle to face up to the ultimate existential threat of climate change.

What follows is a reading of the recent history of a too little known place where the battle for democracy and the right to exist has united people in a poetic stance against injustice.

After nine centuries of rule by a Muslim sultanate and four decades as a British “protectorate,” the Maldives became an independent republic in 1968, only to fall into the clutches of Maumoon Gayoom from 1978 to 2008, an authoritarian, quasi-dictatorial president who displayed a smiling face to the world. As The Economist put it in 2013, he was “an autocratic moderniser who made the Maldives the wealthiest corner of South Asia by promoting high-end bikini-and-booze tourism (usually on atolls some distance away from the solidly Muslim local population).”[1]

When a tsunami struck the Maldives in late 2004, Gayoom was forced by international pressure to permit free elections in return for assistance. The young journalist Mohamed Nasheed, who had been imprisoned for protesting the lack of democracy, returned from exile in 2008 to stand as the presidential candidate of the newly established Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Under the slogan Aneh Dhivehi Raaje (“Another Maldives”), Nasheed’s party evoked the defining slogan of the global justice movement, “Another World is Possible.”

Nasheed won the presidency on October 28, 2008 by uniting the various oppositional parties. His rise from prison to the presidency in the country’s first democratic elections parallels that of Nelson Mandela in other circumstances. But just how different those circumstances would prove to be would become more apparent during his short term in power, which bears a striking resemblance to the tragic outcome of the Arab Spring in Egypt to date.

The Nasheed Era and the Politics of Climate Justice, 2008-2012

Nasheed and the MDP never commanded a parliamentary majority. Despite this, his administration made good on its promise to improve life conditions, delivering free healthcare, a national university, pensions for the elderly, social housing, improved transportation among the islands, and civil liberties such as freedom of expression and security of one’s person unheard of in the Maldivian context. He would deliver even more on a global stage.

>On March 15, 2009 Nasheed declared the Maldives’ goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral country after the UK premiere of Franny Armstrong’s timely film about climate change, The Age of Stupid. As he argued, “for us swearing off fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do, it is in our economic self-interest… Pioneering countries will free themselves from the unpredictable price of foreign oil; they will capitalize on the new green economy of the future, and they will enhance their moral standing giving them greater political influence on the world stage.”[2]

The world took note when the MDP staged a symbolic underwater cabinet meeting just before the historic UN climate summit in Copenhagen. After a few quick diving lessons, Nasheed and his ministers met six meters below sea level and signed a document calling on all countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, saying that “we must unite in a world wide effort to halt further temperature rises. Climate change is happening, and it threatens the rights and security of everyone on Earth. We have to have a better deal. We should be able to come out with an amicable understanding that everyone survives. If Maldives can’t be saved today, we do not feel that there is much of a chance for the rest of the world.” He added: “What do we hope to achieve? We hope not to die. I hope I can live in the Maldives and raise my grandchildren here.”[3]

Two months later in Copenhagen, Nasheed and his Minister of the Environment Mohamed Aslam carried the banner of the frontline island nations most threatened by climate change. When the two arrived in Copenhagen they went not to the UN summit but straight to a gathering of young climate activists who greeted Nasheed by unfurling a banner that read “You Are Our Global President.”

In a short period of time the Maldives had changed the discourse around climate action away from the common framing of the global south as climate victims. They had rewritten this narrative to show leadership on climate solutions. “You can ask somebody to stop something,” Aslam explained in an interview, “but they won’t stop it until there’s an alternative to that. So our way of doing this is we wanted to talk more about the alternatives.” In Nasheed’s view: “We felt that everyone should be responsible for climate change… The United Nations Conference was becoming an endless talking shop and without any substance coming out from that and it’s still looking like that. So I think politicians need to sit down and not get the civil servants and the bureaucrats talking about it all the time. Leaders must lead.”

Climate justice is the Maldives’s long-term intergenerational struggle; it must be addressed for its fragile democracy to matter. As Nasheed states in the movie The Island President (2011), which chronicles his efforts to raise awareness about the effects of climate change on the Maldives: “We view climate change in the context of democracy. Without democracy, you cannot enact. The former dictatorship wasted $200 million because they gave the contracts to the wrong people.” In the Maldives, the struggle against climate change depends on the success of the democratic project.

The Coup

Pro-Gayoom parties and key members of the elite never accepted the results of the 2008 election, and through the whole of Nasheed’s tenure waged a dirty campaign to regain power. On January 16, 2012, Nasheed ordered the arrest of Judge Abdulla Mohamed, Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, who repeatedly refused to prosecute corruption cases against the elite, including Gayoom himself. In response, Nasheed’s opposition launched a chain of protests, whipped up by conservatives and Islamists who had flourished in the more open political atmosphere of the Nasheed administration.[4] Nasheed’s efforts to establish new standards and qualifications for judges would return to haunt him.

On the morning of February 7, 2012, the world’s climate justice and global justice communities woke in shock to the news that Nasheed had “resigned,” and that vice president Mohamed Waheed was now the President. Within hours, Nasheed and his supporters were seen on the local airwaves being brutally beaten in the streets for protesting what they called a coup d’état. Nasheed’s supporters in the global climate justice community quickly voiced their concern. Mark Lynas, Nasheed’s climate consultant, wrote in The Guardian: “The deposed president is famous for his efforts to fight climate change, but his lifelong struggle has been for democracy – and now I fear for his safety.”[5]

Two weeks after the coup, the pushback in the streets and on global airwaves forced the new government to announce the formation of a Commission of National Inquiry (CONI) chaired by Gayoom’s former Defence Minister, Ismail Shafeeu, to investigate whether the transfer of power had been legal. The transparent hypocrisy of a government investigating its own legitimacy prompted the British Commonwealth to pressure for the addition of independent experts. Unsurprisingly, the report’s findings supported the new government. The Commission argued that “the change of president in the Republic of Maldives on 7 February 2012 was legal and constitutional… The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will. It was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation.”[6]

In the words of Mohamed Nasheed, “now we have a very awkward situation and in many ways very comical, where toppling a government by brutal force is taken as a reasonable course of action … accepted as long as it comes with an ‘appropriate’ narrative.”[7] Still, the United States and Britain welcomed the report and recommended that Nasheed and the MDP look ahead to the 2013 presidential elections.

The problems with the report are numerous, and there are two independent legal evaluations which unequivocally find it deficient. The first of these, conducted by Sri Lankan jurists, clearly rejects the findings, concluding that “CONI could not have reasonably satisfied itself on objective criteria … that President Nasheed resigned of his own free will.”[8] The authors of a second independent report find that “President Nasheed resigned as President of the Maldives under duress, and … his resignation cannot be considered voluntary or otherwise ‘in accordance with law’… To the extent that a ‘coup d’état’ can be defined as the ‘illegitimate overthrow of a government’, we must therefore also consider the events as a coup d’état.”[9]

The 2013 Elections and Their Aftermath

In response to the CONI setback, the MDP prudently focused its energies on winning the 2013 presidential elections. They were generally seen as a popular referendum on competing visions for the future of the country. As MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor put it: “This is a clash between the past and the future, and we are the future.”[10]

The MDP campaign was based on four main development initiatives: the introduction of agribusiness, development of a local tourism industry that would put “wealth within reach of all locals for the first time,” mariculture business, and the so-called “empowered worker initiative,” which would use $4.6 billion in tax revenues to generate 51,000 jobs, build 20,000 housing units, provide assistance to single parents and persons with disabilities, and make educational loans available to students.[11]

 photo credit: CC-BY 2.0 Dying Regime
photo credit: CC-BY 2.0 Dying Regime

In contrast to Nasheed’s sustainable development plan, Yameen Gayoom, the half-brother of the former autocratic president, pledged to create jobs by pursuing oil exploration. At his campaign launch, he proclaimed that “it is very possible oil might be found in the Maldives.”[12] Another candidate, the billionaire tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, also campaigned with the promise to drill for oil, saying “It is very wrong to turn ourselves away from a blessing given by Allah… oil can be extracted safely without causing any harm to [the] tourism sector… If I get to be the President, it would be the first thing my government would turn towards.”[13]

The development of an oil industry in the Maldives would reverse Nasheed’s declaration to become carbon neutral by 2020, as well as Mohamed Waheed’s 2012 declaration during the Rio 20+ UN Conference on Sustainable Development, where he pledged that the Maldives would “become the first country to be a marine reserve.”[14]

Nasheed’s support was genuinely grassroots. Azra Naseem, who runs an oppositional news site and supported the MDP campaign, recounts a campaign stop where she asked a group of women why they liked Nasheed so much: “He’s like one of us. He treats us like equals… He visits all the houses, rich and poor alike.”[11]

On election day, Nasheed and the MDP received 45.45 percent of the vote. Sitting president Mohamed Waheed, who had come to power in the coup, suffered a humiliating rebuke with just 5.1 percent. The half-brother of the former autocratic president received 25 percent of the vote, to billionaire Gasim Ibrahim’s 24. A run-off between the top two candidates would be needed.

Scheduled for September 28, 2013, the run-off augured a clash of “people power” against the power of money, intimidation, and violence. The fact that the opposition vote had been split three ways was a distinct advantage for the MDP. But since Nasheed had failed to clear the 50 percent hurdle, the likelihood that all his opponents would ask their supporters to vote for the one still in the running on the second round augured a dangerous electoral math for his campaign.

The events that followed added more drama. The week after the election, Gasim’s Jumhooree Party filed legal papers alleging significant fraud, a case which the Supreme Court, packed with appointees from the days of the dictatorship, deemed sufficiently serious to investigate.[16] The lawsuit was an attempt to derail the electoral process, to annul the initial round of voting, and to allow Waheed and Gasim back into the political arena.

The evidence was flimsy at best. The Jumhooree Party presented a list of 568 people who were allegedly dead but still appeared on electoral rolls, and another list of 172 people whose names seemed to appear more than once. But as the Electoral Commission found, only seven of the 568 people actually appeared on the rolls, and four of them were still alive. The 172 allegedly double-counted voters turned out to be separate pairs of people who shared the same name.[17]

Despite overwhelming endorsement as clean and fair by every international observer, a narrow majority of the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the September 7 first-round presidential elections were null and void. Neither the MDP nor the Electoral Commission were allowed to set foot in the courtroom for final arguments in the case.

When the first round was finally replayed on October 12, the results were nearly identical: Nasheed was first but under 50 percent, and Yameen edged out Gasim once again by a small but clear margin for the second spot on the final ballot. But for a public growing weary of the charade, the process was taking a toll.

In the run-up to the final round, attacks on Nasheed alleged his lack of respect for Islam. The overall political perspective of the Islamist Adhaalath Party comes across well in a speech by Sheikh Abdulla: “We came forward to save this Nation from Nasheed’s clutches… Maldivians, have courage. I am ready to make any sacrifice with my body and my money to bring you Maldivians a happy and prosperous life. We will not give in to anyone.”[18] At another political rally, an anti-MDP candidate announced that “we will not allow Mohamed Nasheed to return to power even if he wins the election.”[19] Behind all of this lay the threat of street violence that had already preceded the previous coup.

Meanwhile, it was entirely unclear whether the two main opposition parties could form a viable coalition, despite their shared determination to prevent a Nasheed win at any cost. As Azra Naseem reported: “Former military man Mohamed Fayaz, one of the main coup-enablers who put his support behind Gasim, advised him to join Yameen following the election results. What else was there for Gasim to do? Gasim responded with unbridled anger, swore at [Fayaz], and told him: ‘I would rather walk into the sea with my wives and children than join Yameen’.”[20]

When the results of the second run-off election came in, they were heartbreaking to Nasheed and the MDP: The two right-wing parties threw their votes together at the very last minute to win as Nasheed again came up just short of the 50 percent needed to regain his presidency. He won all major cities, but only gained 48.6 percent of the vote. As the journalist Yameen Rasheed wrote “[I]t is clear from the results that there is still another Maldives. A more isolated, isolationist, xenophobic and paranoid Maldives that is still susceptible to dangerous emotive politics.”[21]

In March of 2014, the MDP came up short once more in the parliamentary elections, sealing the MDP’s decline. Voter turnout was 77 percent, down from the 88 percent in the presidential elections, perhaps reflecting the weariness of the democratic movement’s base. As Mohamed Aslam remarked in an interview, “people were very uncertain of what was happening and if there would be a fair election held.”

Ibrahim Ismail, who had led the drafting of the country’s democratic constitution in 2008, had this to say about the elections: “I believe the election is a farce – while there was a free vote, it was not a fair vote. Government influences were used, voters were threatened, and people were bribed openly… I think with these results, the constitution which protects minority rights and fundamental liberties will be suspended. It will be put on the shelf.”[22] Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, the MDP’s International Spokesperson, came to a similar conclusion but in a gloomier register: “The legitimisation of the 7/2/12 coup d’état has reversed extensive democratic gains Maldives made post-2008. A cold winter has set on democracy in tropical Maldives.”[23]

“A Sad, Sad Day for the Maldives”

In the months following Nasheed’s electoral defeat, the newly formed right-wing coalition proved unstable. Tensions pushed Gasim and his Jumhooree Party to renounce Yameen and form an alliance with the MDP in order to bring attention to the ongoing “destruction of the Maldivian Constitution.”[24] Gasim complained of physical threats and deliberate setbacks aimed at his businesses. In a live broadcast from Malé on the evening of February 5, 2015, Gasim addressed his comments directly to Yameen: “You were elected with my support. I can guarantee you that you will not receive 51 percent of Maldivian votes. Forget it.”[25]

Maldivian police dragged Nasheed through the streets after reportedly pushing him to the ground to stop him from speaking to journalists… he was charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and sentenced to thirteen years in prison.

Two weeks later, Nasheed was forcibly arrested and ordered to stand trial for charges that had been looming in the background since his 2012 decision to arrest Judge Abdulla Mohamed. On Februrary 22, 2015, Maldivian police dragged Nasheed through the streets after reportedly pushing him to the ground to stop him from speaking to journalists.[26] By March 13, 2015, he was charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and sentenced to thirteen years in prison.[27]

Days before his conviction, Nasheed’s team of lawyers quit in protest, suggesting that the trial was a ploy to end Nasheed’s political career.[28] Amnesty International urged that the trial was deeply flawed from the beginning: “Rather than responding to international calls to strengthen the impartiality of the judiciary the government of the Maldives has proceeded with this sham trial for political reasons.”[29] Grasping the severity of this latest blow to democracy, MDP spokesperson Shuana Aminath reported: “Nothing good will come out of this. It’s a sad, sad, sad day for the Maldives.”[30]

A large outpouring of support for Nasheed followed. Protesters began to fill the streets daily, demanding Nasheed’s release. On May 1, 2015—a symbolic day for social justice—Nasheed’s supporters from across the nation’s 1200 islands gathered in solidarity. As Azra Naseem observed, the demonstrators desired to be heard: “They want to rise up against the government that has refused to listen to any of their multitude of woes and worries … promises that have been unfulfilled … islands that have been sold to shady businesses; lagoons that have been signed away for centuries; atolls handed to foreign governments for unknown purposes … and lives that have become too joyless and filled with fear to enjoy.”[31]

The May Day protesters were met with tear gas, batons, and handcuffs. Nearly two hundred arrests were made, including a handful of key opposition leaders. Prompted by the unfolding chaos, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a public statement in which he acknowledged that “there are troubling signs that democracy is under threat in the Maldives.”[32] However, nearly three years after the CONI report, at which time the US had supported the initial transfer of power, even this weak affirmation of support for democracy rings hollow.

The pain of political repression and the loss of democracy in the Maldives cannot be understood apart from the silencing of another of its rising voices. Months before Nasheed’s arrest, fears had already mounted when 28-year-old Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla went missing on August 8, 2014 following a series of ominous threats.[33] A well regarded journalist, Rilwan was known for covering stories related to human rights issues, including religious radicalism and corruption (not unlike Nasheed in his younger days). Over a year later, Rilwan’s disappearance remains unresolved and shrouded in suspicion. The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives has indicated that authorities have not done enough to find Rilwan.[34] In a 2015 letter addressed to Yameen, the International Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) wrote: “If no independent investigation is launched into Rilwan’s disappearance, Maldives risks joining the ranks of violent or repressive states like Syria, Mexico, and Russia, where journalists go missing and anti-press violations are at a high.”[35]

Maldivian Futures and the Global Imaginary

Injustice is hardly poetic. It is too often the normal way of the world, with the deck stacked against both social and climate justice. The challenges that Nasheed and the MDP have faced in the Maldives are similar to those faced by communities everywhere on the front lines of climate change. The locked-in nature of the hard fossil fuel energy path, the fragility of democracies led by authoritarian modernizers, the opening wide of nations caught in the clutches of neoliberal global capital – all of these portend a dystopic near-term future for the Maldives and for most of the world.

As the clock ticks for meaningful action on climate change, all eyes are on Paris. In December 2015, 196 countries will meet there to sign a global agreement. Might the balance of forces now tilted so heavily toward the fossil fuel corporations and their governments, and thus to the climate catastrophe that their business-as-usual attitude is locking in, shift—at least to some degree—back in the direction dictated by science and championed by the majority of the world’s population? Without Nasheed’s voice at the negotiations, this long-shot scenario seems even more unlikely.

In Paris, Maldives Ambassador Ahmed Sareer will lead the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a coalition of low-lying coastal countries. However, as Mark Lynas argues, the presence of the Maldives at such meetings contradicts the moral imperative of climate justice: “Should demands from these countries for billions of dollars’ worth of climate aid be heeded, when minimum standards of good governance are ignored and human rights are trampled?… Human rights and climate change cannot be traded off against each other.”[36] If the Maldives is to be saved, what kind of Maldives will it be? Will it be Nasheed’s Aneh Dhivehi Raaje (“Another Maldives”) or the one that imprisoned him?

Lost for the present in the Maldives is a difficult but clear-eyed path toward low-carbon sustainable development and a functioning democracy. Yet one wonders what might happen in 2018, when another round of presidential elections takes place. Will Nasheed be able to run? Perhaps a new leader will emerge. Reflecting on a lifetime of activism, Nasheed imparts the following words of wisdom to future generations: “After all this, some Maldivians told me that they felt despair over the future of their country. I responded: ‘Don’t presume that this is the end of the book. We’re only in the middle of the story. Don’t be so hasty as to predict how the story will end’.”[37]

There is something almost Sisyphian in the struggle of Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldives for democracy and climate justice. Each time, these goals feel so close. So close, and yet. The glory of Sisyphus was to struggle anew, knowing the game was rigged. This story of the Maldives, and the rest of its rich and untold history, is no Greek myth, however. The game is rigged, yes, surely, but the game is not up. Contemplating injustice makes us feel sad. Feeling it makes us angry. But fighting it makes us whole. As Nasheed has said, other chapters will be written in this epic and consequential struggle for democracy and climate justice in the Maldives. On some future day, the people will choose again. And that chapter might just be the break that they, and all who are committed to the global fight for climate justice, need.

+ + +

An earlier version of this article was published in 2014 online by the Berkeley Journal of Sociology. This article has been updated in order to be included in a forum on Environment in Society in our 2015 print Volume 59.


Summer Gray is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Santa Cruz. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Santa Barbara in December 2014. For her dissertation, Gray studied the expansion of seawalls throughout the world to re-examine the causes, dynamics, and consequences of sea change for communities in Guyana and the Maldives. Gray recently produced a short film on the Maldives entitled Gone Before the Wave. The film is available at www.maldivesculture.com.

John Foran is a professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, where his current areas of intense focus and interest include the climate crisis, 21st-century movements for radical social change, and sustainable development or “building better futures.” Foran is engaged in a long-term participatory action project with the global climate justice movement, with Dr. Richard Widick, with whom he co-directs the International Institute of Climate Action & Theory and is a founding member of the Climate Justice Project.


References and Footnotes

  1. All interviews in this essay were done by Summer Gray, on two research trips to the Maldives in March-April 2013 and March 2014.
  2. The Economist. 2013. “Yellow Fever: The Maldives Goes to the Polls” (August 31), http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21584375-presidential-elections-bring-chance-start-afresh-yellow-fever
  3. Fielding, Nicholas. 2012. “The Maldives under Invasion.” Under Threat, Under Water - Societies at Risk (December 20), http://underthreatunderwater.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post.html
  4. Lang, Olivia. 2009. “Maldives Leader in Climate Change Stunt.” BBC News (October 17), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8312320.stm
  5. Naseem, Azra and Mushfique Mohamed. 2014. “The Long Road from Islam to Islamism: A Short History.” Dhivehi Sitee (May 30), http://www.dhivehisitee.com/religion/islamism-maldives/
  6. Lynas, Mark. 2012. “Mohamed Nasheed’s overthrow is a blow to the Maldives and democracy.” The Guardian (February 7), http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/feb/07/mohamed-nasheed-overthrow-maldives
  7. CONI [Commission of National Inquiry]. 2012. Report of the Commission of National Inquiry, Maldives (August 30), http://www.maldivesculture.com/pdf_files/CONI-Report-2012.pdf
  8. Tisdall, Simon. 2012. “Maldives: Coni report causes predictable outrage.” The Guardian (September 9, 2012), http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/09/maldives-coni-report-predictable-outrage
  9. Perera, Anita, Senany Dayaratne, and Shibly Aziz. 2012. A Legal Review of the Report of the Commission of National Inquiry [CONI] Maldives (September 5), Colombo, Sri Lanka, http://minivannews.com/files/2012/09/CONI-A-Legal-Analysis.pdf
  10. Henriksen, Anders, Rasmus Kieffer-Kristensen, and Jonas Parello-Plesner. 2012. “Arrested Democracy: The legality under International Law of the 2012 transfer of power in the Maldives and alleged human rights violations perpetrated by Maldivian security forces.” (August 16), http://www.maldivesculture.com/pdf_files/Report_on_the_Maldives-Coup-Henriksen.pdf
  11. Naahee, Mohamed. 2013. “MDP appoints 1000 election observers as campaign spreads across country.” Minivan News (August 15), http://minivannews.com/politics/mdp-appoints-1000-election-observers-as-campaign-spreads-across-country-62437
  12. Naseem, Azra. 2013. “Island politics: on the MDP campaign trail.” Minivan News (May 29), http://minivannews.com/politics/island-politics-on-the-mdp-campaign-trail-58668
  13. Malone, Leah. 2013. “PPM would pursue oil exploration, foreign investment: Abdulla Yameen.” (January 15) Minivan News, http://minivannews.com/politics/ppm-would-pursue-oil-exploration-foreign-investment-abdulla-yameen-51214
  14. Naahee, Mohamed. 2013. “Presidential Prospect Gasim Ibrahim Also Backs Drilling for Oil.” Minivan News (February 4, 2013), http://minivannews.com/politics/presidential-prospect-gasim-ibrahim-also-backs-drilling-for-oil-52330
  15. The President’s Office. 2012. “President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s statement at the 1st Plenary Meeting at Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (June 20, 2012), http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=12&dcid=7556
  16. Naseem, Azra. 2013. “Island politics: on the MDP campaign trail.” Minivan News (May 29), http://minivannews.com/politics/island-politics-on-the-mdp-campaign-trail-58668
  17. Nasheed has written retrospectively of the failure to remove corrupt unqualified judges that “like giving Dracula the keys to the blood bank, this decision gave unfettered power to a judiciary that is rotten to the core,” seeing it as a problem that plagued Egypt as well after the ouster of Mubarak: Mohamed Nasheed, “Build a Party, Beware of Judges, and Never Give Up: Lessons from a lifetime of political activism.” Minivan News (June 28, 2014), http://minivannews.com/politics/comment-build-a-party-beware-of-judges-never-give-up-87743
  18. Naahee, Mohamed. 2013. “High Court holds first hearing of Jumhooree Party’s case against Election Commission.” Minivan News (September 15), http://minivannews.com/politics/high-court-holds-first-hearing-of-jumhooree-party%E2%80%99s-case-against-election-commission-65569
  19. Naseem, Azra. 2013. “‘Rigged Vote! Rigged Vote!’: Sheikh Imrant” (September 14), http://www.dhivehisitee.com/election-2013/
  20. Naseem, Azra. 2013b. “Yesterday, on the Sunny Side of Life.” Dhivehi Sitee, http://www.dhivehisitee.com/election-2013/latest-news/yesterday/
  21. Naseem, Azra. 2013c. “Plan B.” Dhivehi Sitee (September 19), http://dhivehisitee.com/election-2013/comment-piece/plan-b-2/
  22. Rasheed, Yameen. 2013. “Comment: Et tu Maldives?” Minivan News (November 17), http://minivannews.com/politics/comment-et-tu-maldives-72021
  23. Rilwan, Ahmed. 2014. “Majlis elections: Undue influence, bribery, and disillusionment led to losses, says MDP” Minivan News (March 23), http://minivannews.com/politics/majlis-elections-undue-influence-bribery-and-disilussionment-led-to-losses-says-mdp-80744
  24. Minivan News. 2014. “People’s Majlis elections 2014.” (March 22), http://minivannews.com/politics/live-peoples-majlis-elections-2014-80594
  25. Minivan News. 2015. “MDP Holds Street Rally in Front of Gasim’s Residence.” (January 21), http://minivannewsarchive.com/politics/mdp-holds-street-rally-in-front-of-gasim%E2%80%99s-residence-92268
  26. Bosley, Daniel. 2015. “Gasim Defiant as Opposition Sign Agreement to Defend Constitution.” Minivan News (February 7), http://minivannewsarchive.com/politics/gasim-defiant-as-opposition-sign-agreement-to-defend-constitution-92623#sthash.0TPxStn6.dpbs
  27. Al-Jazeera. 2015. “Maldives Police Drag Former President Into Court.” (February 23), http://www.aljazeera.com/news/southasia/2015/02/maldives-police-drag-president-court-150223143212679.html
  28. Prior to Nasheed’s rise to the presidency in 2008, he had already served six years of combined prison sentences (including eighteen months of solitary confinement and other tortures) for protesting the lack of democracy in the Maldives.
  29. Al-Jazeera. 2015. “Maldives Ex-President Nasheed Jailed For 13 in Jail.” (March 13), http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/maldives-president-sentenced-13-years-jail-150313190257362.html
  30. Amnesty International. 2015. “Maldives: 13 Year Sentence for Former President a ‘Travesty of Justice’” (March 13), https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/03/maldives-mohamed-nasheed-convicted-terrorism/
  31. Al-Jazeera. 2015. “Maldives Ex-President Nasheed Jailed For 13 in Jail” (March 13), http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/maldives-president-sentenced-13-years-jail-150313190257362.html
  32. Naseem, Azra. 2015. “‘Mayday-Mayday-Mayday! Maldives.” Dhivehi Sitee (May 1), http://www.dhivehisitee.com/people/may-day-maldives/
  33. Anees, Shan. 2015. “‘Maldives’ Democracy Under Threat’ Says US.” Haveeru Online (May 3), http://www.haveeru.com.mv/john_kerry/60375
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