In June 2006, the International Mission for Press Freedom
called Gayoom the government to suspend its arbitrary
arrests and intimidations to which journalists and
dissidents are exposed.
four «Tamil Tigers», members of the LTTE in Sri Lanka were
sentenced in May 2007 to 15 years in prison in the Maldives
for arms smuggling. The Tamils had been arrested by the
Coast Guard at one of the atolls in the southern Maldives.
Gayoom's 2005-06 democratic reforms led to general elections
in 2008. The presidential election brought Gayoom himself to
decline after 30 years as president. He was replaced by
Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives Democratic Party, who in the
2nd round of elections won over Gayoom by 53.7% against
Gayoom's 45.3. In the first round of elections, Gayoom had
gained 40.3% against Nasheed's 24.9%, so almost the entire
opposition was skipped over on Nasheed's side. Nasheed faced
persecution by the regime in the 1990s and was repeatedly
jailed on false charges. In 2003, he went into self-elected
exile and founded the Democratic Party of the Maldives, to
return home in 2005. He was immediately put in jail, charged
with terrorism. The Maldives has like Denmark and the rest
of the world after 2001 introduced anti-democratic
legislation to persecute political opponents.
Due. its low location, the Maldives is one of the
countries in the world most at risk from the rising seas due
to global warming. The country's highest point is 2.3 m
above sea level. In March 2009, therefore, President Nasheed
announced that over a 10-year period, the country will
replace its fossil energy use for wind and solar energy. He
noted that the expenditure was not expected to be greater
than the country's already spending on importing fossil
fuels. In October, he chaired the world's first underwater
ministerial meeting in protest of global climate change.
On May 1, 2011, protests took place in Malé against
rising food prices, the poor economic situation and
demanding the president's departure. The protests continued
the following days with some thousands of protesters
clashing with police, who in turn used tear gas and spells.
In December, an opposition alliance - Madhanee Ithihaad -
was formed, which also included the parties that had
otherwise supported the president in the 2008 election. On
December 23, the alliance held a meeting of 20,000
participants. On January 16, 2012, at the president's
request, the military arrested Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed
of Malé's criminal court on charges of obstructing the
investigation of corruption and human rights violations
under former President Gayoom. The arrest was the start of a
new wave of opposition protests. The turmoil reached a
tentative peak on February 6 when police joined the
protesters and refused to disperse the demonstrations. On
the morning of the 7th, protesters and police attempted to
storm the military headquarters, and the president ordered
the soldiers to use rubber bullets against protesters and
police trying to storm the headquarters. A few hours later,
Nasheed stepped back in front of rolling cameras, claiming
he was threatened to do so. His Vice President Mohammed
Waheed Hassan then took over the presidential post.
Nasheed's supporters claimed there was a coup d'état, but
the circumstances remained unclear. In contrast, police
cracked down unusually hard on demonstrations organized by
Nasheed's supporters. Waheed attempted on February 11 to
form a unity government in which Nasheed supporters also
joined, but it was rejected by these. New elections were
scheduled for July 2013.
In February 2013, juvenile justice sentenced a
15-year-old girl to 100 whips for extramarital sex. She had
been raped by her stepfather and had given birth to a son.
The cruel verdict led to national and international protests
and was overturned by the High Court in August.
Nasheed was arrested in March 2013 for his warrant for
arrest by the chief judge in January 2012. The arrest
prompted Amnesty International to declare that former
dictator Gayoom had never been arrested - even after his
defeat in 2008.
The presidential election was held in September 2013. It
was won by Mohamed Nasheed who got 45.5% of the vote,
followed by Abdulla Yameen who got 25.4%. In November, the
second round of elections was conducted. Nasheed had to
settle for 48.6% here. Yameen gained 51.4% and was in office
later that month.
In January 2014, Interior Minister Umar Naseer ordered
the country's prisons to prepare for the execution of death
sentences over those sentenced to death. The order sparked
international protests. It would be the first time in 60
years the verdict was enforced in the Maldives, Amnesty
In March 2015, the country's opposition leader Mohamed
Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison by the regime.
The month before, he had been corporally dragged into court
by armed police.
In July 2015, a new land law was passed that, for the
first time in the country's history, allowed foreigners to
buy land in the country - provided they invested over $ 1
billion. US $ and that 70% of the purchased "land" was
recovered from the sea. Critics feared the law would open up
a Chinese military base in the country. Throughout 2014, the
Maldives sought closer relations with China and supported
the country's plans for a maritime Silk Road through the
Indian Ocean. A Chinese base will encounter considerable
opposition from both India and the United States.