Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Maldives 22 August 2005

Cyber-dissident Mohamed Zaki freed

Reporters Without Borders today cautiously welcomed the release of Maldives cyber-dissident Mohamed Zaki, after two years in prison and 19 months under house arrest and called on President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to send a "positive signal" to the world by freeing other journalists still being detained, including two arrested several days ago.

Zaki, who helped run the e-mailed newsletter Sandhaanu, was freed on 18 August, two months after the release of another Sandhaanu staff member, Fathimath Nisreen. He told Reporters Without Borders he had been freed without conditions attached and that he would not otherwise have agreed to his release. He said he would keep on fighting even if he was thrown in prison again, because "freedom of speech cannot be sacrificed."

He was jailed in January 2002 and then put under house arrest in January 2004 because he was partially paralysed by a back problem.

Zaki, along with Ahmad Didi, Ibrahim Lutfy and his assistant Nisreen, were arrested in January 2002 for producing the newsletter, which criticised human rights violations and corruption. Zaki, Didi and Lufti were accused of libel and supposedly trying to overthrow the government and sentenced to life imprisonment on 7 July 2002. Nisreen, who was only 22 at the time, got 10 years.

Lutfy escaped on 24 May 2003 and now lives in Switzerland. Nisreen was amnestied by President Gayoom on 9 May this year. Didi has been under house arrest since February 2004. The sentences of he and Zaki were both reduced to 15 years in 2003.

Press freedom in the Maldives has been attacked many times in recent weeks. Two journalists — Ibrahim Rasheed, editor of the weekly Adduvas, and a journalist on the daily Aafathis — .were arrested recently. An online opposition paper, Minivan News, has also been banned and an arrest warrant issued for its woman editor, Aminath Najeeb.




In this country
28 October - Maldives
Generally good climate for presidential election marred by public TV’s bias in favour of incumbent
23 January - Maldives
Opposition website’s reporter expelled, banned for two years
5 December - Maldives
Open letter to the Information Minister, Mohamed Nasheed
7 November - Maldives
Government gets tough again in run-up to opposition rally
19 August - Maldives
Despite pardon, Jennifer Latheef should be cleared of terrorism charges

in the annual report
Maldives - Annual report 2008
Maldives - Annual report 2007
Maldives - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised