Attacks on the Press in 2006 - Snapshots: Maldives
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2007|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2006 - Snapshots: Maldives, February 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5675c22.html [accessed 13 July 2014]|
Internet journalist Ahmed Didi was released from house arrest and pardoned in February, four years after receiving a life sentence because of his work. Didi, a founder of the Dhivehi-language Internet publication Sandhaanu, was arrested in February 2002 and held for several months in solitary confinement before being sentenced on charges of defamation, incitement to violence, and treason. Didi was charged with "insulting" Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, calling for the overthrow of the government, causing hatred against the government, and spreading false news.
A reporter with the opposition newspaper Minivan Daily was sentenced to life imprisonment in April on drug charges. Colleagues believe that Abdullah Saeed, known as Fahala, was framed and unfairly tried by a judiciary that is largely controlled by President Gayoom, who has ruled since 1978. Under international pressure, the Maldivian government made gestures toward democratic reform by allowing nongovernmental publications to operate on a limited basis in the country, but continued to harass, detain, and prosecute journalists sympathetic to the opposition Maldivian Democracy Party.
Authorities detained and expelled Phillip Wellman, an American reporter working for the online newspaper Minivannews, and Graham Quick, a British freelance photographer working for London's Observer. The Minivan publishing group is closely associated with the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party. "They were asked to leave because their activities were not in line [with what] could be attributed to journalism," Foreign Minister Ahmed Saeed said after the November 3 action. The two journalists, traveling together, were covering the arrests of Maldivian Democratic Party activists on the southern Gaaf Dhall atoll, Wellman reported.