Political prisoners of Maldives

Come September 2018, Maldives will be holding its presidential elections.  Actions of the current government has drawn a lot of international and domestic criticism due to sentencing of politicians after sketchy court proceedings. The following is a list of all the political prisoners of Maldives

Current prisoner count

Maldives Democratic Party (MDP)

The biggest political party and the most popular in terms of votes gained in the last election. With a good claim to be the main opposition, things were going stellar for them in 2008, with their candidate winning the election. Things haven’t quite been the same for them as an opposition party.

Mohamed Nasheed (Anni)

Former president, was deposed in February 2012 under dubious circumstances. Serving an unlucky 13 years sentence after being charged for terrorism, but now living in UK since being granted asylum. Has been proclaimed as the election candidate from the party for 2018 but has since withdrawn (for now). Nasheed is without doubt, the figure with most followers on this list. He has championed democracy ever since he had entered the political scene and has an outstanding relationship with the international community. Many would like to see him run for elections again but the legal roadblocks will prevent him from running.

  • Charges: Terrorism
  • Jailed in: 13 March 2015
  • Sentence duration: 13 years
  • Currently in: United Kingdom

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)​

You could be forgiven to think that the ruling party members can get away with shenanigans and be safe from prosecution. The dramatic rise of PPM in terms of power after schisms that arose in Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) was one for the notebooks. Once in power, things got of to an awkward start, beginning with the breakdown in the coalition government.

In a surprising twist of fate, more members from the ruling party can be currently classified as political prisoners

Ahmed Adeeb (Bro)

Where do one even start with Adeeb? His fall from grace has had profound implications to date. But what do you expect when you squander money and try to assassinate a president? Often seen as more of a criminal than a political prisoner, nevertheless is still one of the most powerful figures. Currently serving a jail sentence that keeps growing by the day as new charges are brought forth.

  • Charges: Corruption, terrorism, bribery
  • Jailed in: 09 June 2016
  • Sentence duration: 33 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Mohamed Nazim

Colonel Nazim for most, simply just Nazim for many, he was one of the more powerful Ministers at the start of Yamin's presidency. But since then has fallen from power and grace after allegedly trying to harm the president. It is speculated that he was framed by Ahmed Adeeb, former friend and ally

  • Charges: Terrorism, treason
  • Jailed in: 26 March 2015
  • Sentence duration: 11 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Faris Maumoon

Son of a former president, and a critic of the current president who has steadily built support around him. Was apprehended on bribery charges and his trial has been nothing but a circus of back and forth between unreliable evidence and witness testimonials.

  • Charges: Identity theft
  • Jailed in: 27 June 2018
  • Sentence duration: 4 months 24 days
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

Former President of Maldives, who played a major role in bringing the current president into power. A very visible power struggle ensued between Maumoon and Yamin before courts handed formal power to Yamin, ousting the party founder from his party. He was charged with bribery associated with 'the' supreme court rulings

  • Charges: Obstruction of Justice
  • Jailed in: 13 June 2018
  • Sentence duration: 19 months
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Abdulla Ziyath

Former manager of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) is not a prominent figure within the party but is associated with Adeeb. He was charged with many counts of corruption along with his buddy. One of the more forgotten names in the list of political prisoners serving time

  • Charges: Corruption
  • Jailed in: 24 June 2016
  • Sentence duration: 8 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Jumhooree Party (JP)​

Forever having the power to swing vote, JP holds considerable influence, even though they site behind MDP and PPM in terms of popularity. JP is run by the closest thing Maldives has to a business tycoon. The party is able to show off its wealth and influence at every election held since its formation.

Qasim Ibrahim

Leader of JP, who faced a jail sentence and was subsequently released to go abroad for medical reasons. Currently living in Germany under political asylum. Has a loyal following within his party and is seen by many as the solution to a lot of problems. He faces a legal barrier in contesting for presidency again due to an age limit on presidential candidates that was introduced during the current presidency

  • Charges: Bribery
  • Jailed in: 25 August 2017
  • Sentence duration: 3 years
  • Currently in: Germany

Adhaalaath Party (AP)​

The political presence of Muslim Brotherhood in Maldives, AP holds some stake in swing votes, and have till date, participated in elections under coalitions. It is possible that this is about to change in 2018, as there has been some discussions regarding bringing out their own candidate

Imran Abdullah

The party president who is also the most recognizable member of the party. This polarizing figure holds lot of influence and has been active in organizing effective protests in the past and also the one that landed him in troubel. Faces a jail time under terrorism charges after trying to stage a massive protest on May Day 2015

  • Charges: Terrorism
  • Jailed in: 16 February 2016
  • Sentence duration: 12 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi


The following people don’t belong to a particular political party but has been imprisoned for various dubious reasons. What makes them stand out is that they all had a stake in changing the direction of the current political situation. 

Abdullah Saeed

Former Chief Justice of Maldives, has often been scrutinized for turning a blind eye to judicial proceedings of other political prisoners on this list but in a case of possible bad karma, is now a victim of such proceedings. Having taken the bold move of issuing a Supreme Court order to release many prominent political prisoners featured in this article, his decision prior to his arrest has rocked the political situation in Maldives

  • Charges: Obstruction of Justice
  • Jailed in: 13 June 2018
  • Sentence duration: 19 months
  • Currently in: Maafushi jail

Ali Hameed

Another Supreme Court Judge who has never been shy of controversy. The first controversy coming in before the current presidential term when spy cams recorded him engaging in acts that can best be described as unfitting for a person of his stature. He also faced the wrath similar to Chief Justice for much the same reasons

  • Charges: Obstruction of Justice
  • Jailed in: 13 June 2018
  • Sentence duration: 19 months
  • Currently in: Maafushi jail

Hassan Saeed

Another figure unfortunate enough to be caught up in the latest political drama. His charges are similar to that of the Supreme court judges; bribery, corruption and colluding to overthrow the government. Incidentally police claimed that stashed money was found under his mattress, leading for sufficient evidence to his arrest

  • Charges: Bribery
  • Jailed in: not sentenced
  • Sentence duration: not sentenced
  • Currently in: Maafushi jail

Ahmed Ashraf

Social political activist, Shumba Gong was an avid MDP supporter in earlier days but had changed his alliance to Adeeb during the current presidency. He was arrested in Sri Lanka, from his residential home there. The arrest strained relations with the neighboring country

  • Charges: Threatening
  • Jailed in: House arrest
  • Sentence duration: -
  • Currently in: House arrest

Ibrahim Siyad Gasim

Son of JP leader Gasim, has not been seen active in politics, rather putting his efforts to steer his family business the right way. He was also arrested following the Supreme Court ruling and faces similar charges as that of the judges.

  • Charges: Bribery
  • Jailed in: not sentenced
  • Sentence duration: not sentenced
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Muhthaz Muhsin

Former chief prosecutor, who was let go of the job after his work on the corruption scandal that hit the current presidency. He took the bold move to try and arrest the current president for corruption charges but ended facing terrorism charges himself

  • Charges: Terrorism
  • Jailed in: 10 June 2016
  • Sentence duration: 17 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Ahmed Nihan

Dragged along with former chief prosecutor, the Maamigili Magistrate Ahmed Nihan issued an arrest warrant for current president. Needless to say, things did not go well. Faces similar charges as the former chief prosecutor

  • Charges: Terrorism
  • Jailed in: 11 June 2016
  • Sentence duration: 17 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Hamid Ismail

Brother to powerful former VP Adeeb and a successful businessman, Hamid was arrested for similar charges as that of Adeeb and Ziyath

  • Charges: Embezzlement
  • Jailed in: 23 June 2016
  • Sentence duration: 2 years
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

Ahmed Areef

Former Police Commissioner was arrested following the Supreme Court ruling, which he than subsequently tried to follow through, resulting in him being accused of trying to overthrow the goverment

  • Charges: Overthrow government
  • Jailed in: not sentenced yet
  • Sentence duration: not sentenced yet
  • Currently in: Maafushi Jail

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