Former President, Republic of the Maldives, Individual
Mohamed Nasheed was the Maldives’ first democratically elected president. A former journalist, Nasheed led a campaign of non-violent, civil disobedience to win against Asia’s longest serving dictator in historic democratic polls in 2008. In February 2012, Nasheed was forced to resign as a result of a security forces led coup backed by the former government.
Nasheed missed out on re-election for president in late 2013, in an election marred by repeated interventions by the Supreme Court, which was accused of conspiring with Nasheed’s political rivals. On March 13, 2015, the Criminal Court on charges of ‘terrorism’ sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in jail. The trial, which was blatantly politicised lasted less than 3 weeks and has been widely condemned in the Maldives and abroad.
Arrested, imprisoned and tortured in the Maldives on numerous occasions for his political beliefs, Nasheed was named an Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience. During his time in office and thereafter, Nasheed has played a prominent global role advocating for action on climate change. In 2009, to highlight Maldives’ vulnerability to rising sea levels, Nasheed held a meeting of his cabinet underwater. He also implemented policies to turn Maldives into the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2020. Nasheed won the 2009 Anna Lindh Prize, in recognition of his work promoting human rights, democracy and environmental protection. In September 2009, Time Magazine declared Nasheed a ‘Hero of the Environment’. In April 2010, the United Nations presented Nasheed with its ‘Champions of the Earth’ environment award. In August 2010, Newsweek named Nasheed in its list of ‘World’s Ten Best Leaders’. In 2012, The Island President, a documentary feature film about Nasheed was released worldwide. In 2012, Nasheed was presented with the James Lawson Award for the practice of non-violent action. In 2014, Nasheed was presented the Mission Blue Award, by Dr. Sylvia Earle for his climate advocacy.