Earlier this month, on Friday the 13th, a former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, was sentenced to 13 years in prison after a charade of a trial that produced a guilty verdict on “terrorism” charges.
The verdict was highly implausible. Nasheed had won an international award in 2012 for his leadership in nonviolent resistance. It prompted Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to announce a campaign of mass civil resistance to overturn the judgment and also reform the corrupt judiciary.
International watchdogs and governments otherwise friendly to the Maldives chimed in with severe doubts about the trial and the verdict. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said he had “strong concerns about the hasty and apparently unfair trial,” and the Indian government called the whole thing “a sham and a travesty of justice.” One Indian diplomat went further, saying that every hearing in the court was “a death blow to the rule of law.”