Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s international lawyer Jared Genser arrived in the Maldives this afternoon and promptly traveled from the international airport to the Maafushi prison to meet the opposition leader.
Genser, the founder of the renowned campaign group for political prisoners ‘Freedom Now,’ is working with Amal Clooney and Ben Emmerson, a UN rights chief on counter-terrorism and human rights, to secure Nasheed’s release.
Clooney arrived in the Maldives on Monday.
On April 30, the heavyweight lawyers filed a petition with the UN working group on arbitrary detention, seeking a judgment declaring Nasheed’s 13-year jail term unlawful. A ruling is expected next month.
“Our case is very, very clear. I am confident that when the United Nations issues its ruling in October that it is very likely that we are going to prevail,” Genser told reporters at the airport.
“And we are going to take whatever action is necessary to put the kind of pressure on the government of Maldives to ensure that President Nasheed is free and able to resume his role in politics in this country as rapidly as possible.”
Clooney meanwhile met Nasheed at Maafushi jail yesterday.
The high-profile human rights lawyer and wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney told reporters after the two-hour meeting that Nasheed was pleased that she would be meeting government officials on his behalf.
Clooney met with Attorney General (AG) Mohamed Anil this morning. The details of the one-hour meeting were not disclosed to the media.
The foreign lawyers had requested meetings with President Abdulla Yameen, Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, foreign minister Dunya Maumoon, and Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin, but the president’s office spokesperson said yesterday that the AG will meet the lawyers on behalf of the government.
Clooney also accompanied Genser to the Maafushi prison to meet Nasheed this evening.
Nasheed was found guilty of terrorism in March over the military’s detention of criminal court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. The 19-day trial at the criminal court was widely criticised over its apparent lack of due process.
In its response to the UN working group, the government had insisted that judges followed due process in Nasheed’s trial.
Omnia Strategy, chaired by Cherie Blair, the wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, was commissioned to write the response for an undisclosed fee.
After delivering the response to the UN in July, Toby Cadman, a barrister and partner at the international law firm, said any lapses in due process were not “so serious individually or collectively so as to render the entirety of the proceedings a flagrant denial of justice. And thus render the former president’s detention arbitrary.”
“Moreover, it is important to note that any of the irregularities, actual or perceived, are capable of being addressed on appeal,” he said.
Cadman was in attendance at a preliminary hearing held at the High Court today to determine whether to proceed with the state’s appeal of Nasheed’s conviction.
Clooney and Genser will meanwhile stay in the Maldives until September 11, after which they are expected to travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka to brief the press and meet diplomats.
The pair have previously accompanied Nasheed’s wife, Laila Ali, on visits with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, US Secretary of State John Kerry, the UN human rights chief and EU parliamentarians.
On August 23, Nasheed was taken back to Maafushi jail after two months under house arrest, prompting the UN human rights chief as well as the American and British governments to renew calls for his release.