MALE, Maldives - Amnesty International, the global human rights organization, has condemned the use of excessive force by Maldivian authorities against largely peaceful protesters, including women, during recent demonstrations organized by the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). The organization has called for the release of those arrested solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and demanded an independent investigation into the authorities' actions.
The PPM-led protests have been taking place since the Maldives' Criminal Court sentenced the party's leader and former president Abdulla Yameen to 11 years in jail on December 25, 2022. Maldives Police have been accused of using excessive force to disrupt the protests, arresting dozens of people every day.
Amnesty International's statement, posted on Twitter, read: "Maldives: Amnesty International condemns the use of excessive force against largely peaceful protesters, including women, during recent protests organized by opposition political parties. We call for the release of all those arrested and detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and for an independent investigation into the use of excessive force by authorities in dispersing the protest. #ProtectTheProtest #Maldives"
The ongoing protests have seen citizens rallying against the former president's conviction, which they believe is politically motivated. Demonstrators have been gathering in the streets of Male and other parts of the country, demanding justice for Yameen and the release of political prisoners.
The Maldivian government has yet to issue an official response to Amnesty International's statement. However, the allegations of excessive force and the call for an independent investigation have intensified scrutiny on the government's handling of the protests and raised concerns about the state of human rights in the Maldives.