English PEN is gravely concerned to learn that the Chair of the Maldives Democratic Party, journalist and Honorary Member of English PEN, Mohamed Nasheed, was severely beaten and arrested on Sunday 15 April 2007, while paying his respects at a cemetery to a man (Hussain Salah) suspected to have died in police custody. Nasheed was released by the police at 3am this morning, 16 April.
Hussain Salah, whose body was found in a harbour yesterday morning near to a police station, was arrested on 9 April. The police state he was released on 13 April, however his family heard nothing from him on or after that date and therefore believe that he died in custody.
Mohamed Nasheed was formerly under house arrest until September 2006.
Hari Kunzru, member of English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee, gave this statement in response to today’s reports: ‘I was appalled to hear of the beating and arrest of Mohammend Nasheed. His fearless advocacy of the rights of ordinary Maldivians has made him a target for the worst elements within the government and security forces. In this case, his show of support for the family of a man who appears to have died in police custody, has made him a target. His treatment puts in question the claims of the Maldivian government to be moving towards a freer and fairer society.’
English PEN calls on its members to write to the Maldivian authorities to protest the recent beating and arrest of Mohamed Nasheed, and to call for police restraint when facing peaceful assemblies and demonstrations.
Please send your appeal to the representative of the Maldives in London:
H.E. Mr Nassan Sobir
High Commission of the Republic of the Maldives
22 Nottingham Place
London W1U 5NJ
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/maldivesmohamednasheedseverelybeaten/