Mohamed Nasheed became the Maldives’ first democratically elected president in 2008 after leading a campaign of non-violent, civil disobedience against the dictatorship of Maumoon Gayoom, then Asia’s longest-serving ruler. Arrested, imprisoned and tortured on numerous occasions for his political beliefs, he has earned the title “Mandela of the Maldives.”
In 2012, Mr. Nasheed was forced to resign the presidency in a coup d’etat perpetrated by security forces loyal to former president Gayoom. Three years later he was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in jail on charges of “terrorism” in a blatantly politicized trial condemned by Western leaders.
President Nasheed is the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards for his work on human rights, democracy, and environmental protection, including action against climate change. He is currently in the United Kingdom, where he was permitted to travel for medical treatment in January 2016 and where he has been granted refugee status.