Prisoner of the Month April 2006 Jennifer Latheef

Jennifer LatheefProfession: journalist, human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner.

Date of arrest: 12 August 2005.

Details of arrest: Latheef was among several members of the newly established opposition party the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to be arrested on 12 August 2005 during a peaceful protest in Malé. She has been charged with terrorism offences for ‘instigating violence’ during the 2003 riots and allegedly throwing a stone at a policeman. The only witnesses are police officers. Latheef strongly denies these charges. She was sentenced on 18 October 2005 to ten years’ imprisonment.

Previous political imprisonment/problems: Latheef was arrested on 22 September 2003 for documenting and reporting on the riots in Malé following the murder of Evan Naseem, an inmate in Maafushi prison beaten to death by security personnel on 19 September 2003. She was released in November 2003. Arrested again during a peaceful protest in Malé on 13 August 2004 along with 200 other protestors, and kept 74 days without charge. It is believed that Jennifer Latheef is being persecuted for her writing and because she is the daughter of opposition leader Mohamed Latheef, co-founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

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