Amal’s off to prison: just another day at the office

Published September 9th, 2015 - 12:00 GMT
Amal has called Nasheed's imprisonment 'a politically motivated show trial'. (AFP/Str)
Amal has called Nasheed's imprisonment 'a politically motivated show trial'. (AFP/Str)

She is leading another high profile case, and on Tuesday it was time for Amal Clooney to get to work.

The human rights lawyer was seen arriving at Maafushi jail in the Maldives to meet with jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Amal, the wife of actor George Clooney, spent a number of hours with Nasheed in the high security prison, as part of her team's efforts to secure the release of the politician.

Amal and her team arrived by boat to Kaafu Atoll, the administrative division and location of the prison, from the Maldives capital of Male.

Dressed in a smart black dress and grey heels, it was Amal's first full day in the region after touching down in Male on Monday. She may have another difficult fight on her hands but the human rights lawyer received a warm welcome when she arrived in the Maldives to further pursue the case of Nasheed.

The 37-year-old greeted a large crowd as she touched down in the capital Male. Amal is part of the ex-leader's high-profile legal team who are fighting for the release of the politician.

Along with her legal team co-counsel Jared Genser, Amal has travelled to the island republic's capital to make the case heard.

On Friday Nasheed's defence lawyer Mahfooz Saeed was stabbed in the left side of his head while he was on his motorbike in capital Male, reports the Asian Tribune.

It is not known who the two men are who attacked him, but the knife missed his eye-socket by a few millimetres.

He remains in hospital after surgery to remove the knife.

The United States, the European Union and India have all expressed concern at the jailing of Nasheed for 13 years for ordering the detention of a judge in 2012 when he was still president.

Last week the United States called for the Maldives government to release the former president after he was sent back to prison from house arrest.

Nasheed was Maldives' first leader after democratic reforms in 2008 but his presidency was cut short in February 2012 when, according to Amal and her team, 'he was forced to resign at gunpoint.'

Writing in the Guardian last month, under a piece titled 'Release Mohamed Nasheed – an innocent man and the Maldives' great hope',

Amal called the 2013 conviction, 'a politically motivated show trial.'

'Nasheed’s conviction for “terrorism” and the crushing 13-year sentence are a mockery of justice, designed to punish him for criticising the government and remove him as a political threat...Nasheed’s conviction sends a loud and clear message to the Maldivian people: opposition to the ruling regime will not be tolerated,' she added.

Photo: AFP

In a new statement released just before her visit to Male, Amal said, 'President Nasheed's unjust imprisonment has led to the largest protest movement in Maldivian history, and protesters have in turn been added to the list of political prisoners in the country.'

'My co-counsel and I will continue to pursue all legal and diplomatic strategies to secure our client's release, including through the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.'

After visiting the Maldives, Amal and her co-counsel will travel to Sri Lanka and India for further meetings regarding the case.

Amal, who was dressed in a smart black shirt and white trousers, looked in good spirits on Monday despite a difficult fight ahead.

She has been juggling a number of high-profile international cases this summer.

Just over a week ago the lawyer was representing Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy in an Egypt courtroom, who was charged, along with his colleagues Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste, with operating without a press licence and broadcasting material harmful to Egypt.

The three men were each handed three-year jail terms at the hearing at Cairo’s Tora Prison.

Afterwards Amal, whose presence in court received more attention than her client’s from photographers and TV crews, denounced the jail terms as ‘sending a dangerous message that there are judges in Egypt who will allow their courts to become instruments of political oppression and propaganda’.

A week before that case, Amal was with her husband as she joined the Hollywood star at a bash to launch his new tequila in Ibiza, after flying in from their home in Lake Como, Italy, where the couple have spent much of their summer.

By Joanna Crawley

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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