Halt execution plans, rights groups urge Maldives President

August 10, 2017

Leading Maldivian and international human rights organizations are calling on the President of the Maldives to halt plans to break a 60 year moratorium on executions.

A group of organizations – Reprieve, Amnesty International, the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, FORUM-ASIA, Maldivian Democracy Network, Transparency Maldives and Uthema – have sent a joint letter to the President of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, asking him to “change course and halt these planned executions.”

President Yameen has repeatedly spoken of his desire to carry out executions, despite the country’s Parliament having rejected a proposal to reinstate the death penalty in 2013. This week, the President suggested that executions would begin in September. There are concerns for three men who have had their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court.

In their letter to the President, the group of organizations said: “There is mounting evidence that those in line for execution – Hussein Humaam Ahmed, Ahmed Murrath and Mohammed Nabeel – have not received fair trials.”

The letter adds: “You have claimed that the introduction of executions after 60 years is necessary to end violent crime. But all the evidence shows that that the death penalty does not have a unique deterrent effect.[…]  The death penalty will do nothing to make the Maldives safer.”

The intervention follows the recent raising of similar concerns by experts, including Professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University; and investors in the Maldives, such as Sir Richard Branson.

Commenting, Deputy Director of Reprieve Harriet McCulloch said:

“President Yameen’s executions plan will do nothing to make the Maldives safer. With reports of forced ‘confessions’ and concerns about unfair trials, it’s clear there could be a grave miscarriage of justice if executions go ahead. Breaking a moratorium that has held for half a century will deal a terrible blow to the rule of law in the country. President Yameen must urgently listen to the growing calls from inside and outside the Maldives, and drop these ill-advised proposals.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications@reprieve.org.uk, or +44 (0) 207 553 8160.

2. The joint letter to President Yameen from the rights groups is available here.