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Editors of an electronic newsletter sentenced to life in prison

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first_img to go further RSF calls for open trial of Maldivian blogger’s accused murderers Follow the news on Maldives July 15, 2020 Find out more News Organisation MaldivesAsia – Pacific 05.28.2003Editor escapes police surveillance Ibrahim Luthfee, one of three men jailed for life in July last year forputting out an e-mailed newsletter, Sandhaanu, which criticised thegovernment, escaped his police escort while in Sri Lanka on 24 May formedical treatment. He had flown to Colombo on 19 May with his olderbrother Mohamed and two policemen for an operation for chronicconjunctivitis aggravated by filthy prison conditions, after previousrefusals by the government. After he escaped, his brother was taken backto the Maldives and jailed and is feared to have been tortured underinterrogation. Ibrahim said in a letter to a Maldives media outlet justbefore he vanished that he was worried about his safety and appealed forinternational support. The Maldives authorities have contacted Interpol insearch of him and a wanted notice is expected to be issued throughout SriLanka. ————————————02.14.2003Since July 2002, Mohamed Zaki, Ibrahim Luthfee and Ahmed Didi, editors of the electronic newsletter Sandhaanu, have been serving a life term in prison. Fathimath Nisreen, Ibrahim Luthfee’s assistant, received a 10-year prison term. They were found guilty of “insulting the President” and of “committing acts hostile to the government (…) by creating a newsletter known as Sandhaanu.”Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) called upon the Maldivian President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, to demand the immediate release of those four people, whose only crime was to exercise their right to freedom of speech. Indeed, Article 25 of the Maldives Constitution guarantees that “Every citizen shall have the freedom to express his conscience and thoughts orally or in writing or by other means…”In January 2002, businessmen Mohamed Zaki, Ibrahim Luthfee and Ahmed Didi, as well as Fathimath Nisreen, Ibrahim Luthfee’s assistant, were arrested by the police for having circulated articles critical of the government on their electronic newsletter Sandhaanu. According to Amnesty International, this Internet publication, written in Dhivehi (the language of the Maldives), had not advocated violent political opposition. After being held in solitary confinement for two weeks by the police force in Malé (the capital city), they were transferred to the detention centre on the island of Dhoonidhoo.In May, they were charged with “defamation” and “committing acts hostile to the government” by publishing critical information on Sandhaanu. The authorities denied them the right to legal representation and refused to allow visits from their families.In June, they were transferred to the island of Mafushi, where they are being held in small cells. On 7 July 2002, Mohamed Zaki, Ibrahim Luthfee and Ahmed Didi were sentenced to life in prison. Fathimath Nisreen, 21, was given a 10-year prison term for having expressed her “dissatisfaction with government policy” and having sided with the authors of the Sandhaanu articles. The authorities have denied their request to file an appeal.During the trial, Ibrahim Luthfee, 37, and Ahmed Didi, 50, admitted that they were the authors of this electronic newsletter, while 50-year-old Mohammed Zaki, a resident of Malaysia, was responsible for sending it to Internet users who requested it. Before the judges, Ibrahim Luthfee claimed that he was prepared to prove, point-by-point, every accusation that he had made against President Gayoom.They are all still behind bars on the island of Mafushi, under harsh prison conditions. The authorities have placed them in Block C, usually reserved for drug addicts and thieves. Their cells are not ventilated and they only receive five litres of water a day for drinking and washing. Their families are not permitted to visit them more than once a month. September 12, 2018 Find out more May 28, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Editors of an electronic newsletter sentenced to life in prison News April 23, 2018 Find out more Three men and a woman are serving life sentences for criticising the Maldives president and government in an e-mail newsletter, Sandhaanu. They have been detained in poor conditions since they were sentenced last July and have no right of appeal. MaldivesAsia – Pacific News RSF_en Receive email alerts RSF seeks press freedom pledges from Maldives presidential candidates Help by sharing this information News Maldivian president’s comms chief accused of sexually harassing journalistlast_img


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