Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla launched Wednesday a programme to donate books to jails as part of the new administration’s prison reforms.
The home ministry hopes to build up a significant library of books in prisons with help from students, NGOs and businesses, Imran said at a ceremony held at the Aminiya School in Malé.
Books can be dropped off at the Aminiya School hall until next Saturday night from 10am to 3pm and 9pm to 11pm. On Friday, the hall will be open from 9pm to 11pm.
Several politicians who spent long periods in custody during the previous administration have donated books, including former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, tourism minister Ali Waheed and MP Abdulla Riyaz.
Speaking at the ceremony, Commissioner of Prisons Abdulla Munaz pledged to set up a permanent mechanism to accept book donations.
The initiative has been welcomed on social media.
Aisha Rasheed, sister of murdered blogger Yameen Radheed, recalled that “books were the only thing that kept him sane” after he was arrested from the 2015 May Day protest.
“When my brother was in jail, I knew the only thing that cud keep him sane would be books. The authorities said only approvd religious books are permitted. I was later allowed by the custodial head to give whatever book I wanted,” she tweeted.
— Eva Abdulla 🎈❓ (@evattey) May 22, 2019
— Retd. Flt. A.Munaaz (@a_munaaz) May 23, 2019
— Abdulla Riyaz MP (@riyazabdulla) May 23, 2019
Minister @ali20waheed donates books to Maldives Correctional Service as part of the program to donate books to prison libraries initiated by @HomeMinistrymv and @Corrections_Mv. pic.twitter.com/iWPdBHDBDr
— Ministry of Tourism (@TourismMv) May 23, 2019
— Corrections Mv (@Corrections_Mv) May 23, 2019