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Republic of Maldives: Repression of peaceful political opposition

, Index number: ASA 29/002/2003

This report provides information on arbitrary detention of government critics and their continued imprisonment before and after convictions in grossly unfair trials. It also highlights a pattern of torture and ill-treatment, and serious flaws in the criminal justice system. In the past decade, dozens of people - including politicians, journalists and others protesting government policies - have been detained arbitrarily in defiance of their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Several prisoners of conscience have been tried and convicted by the Criminal Court without having access to a lawyer, or to an independent and impartial appeal mechanism. Their cases highlight the failure of the government to address fundamental flaws in the criminal justice system resulting in arbitrary detention, grossly unfair trials and long term imprisonment of government critics. While the government has taken some steps to improve some aspects of the criminal justice system, major problems remain. Amnesty International is calling upon the Government of Maldives to implement the recommendations contained in this report to ensure that the rights of those seeking to peacefully express their political opinion are guaranteed.

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