Mohamed Nasheed
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Mohamed Nasheed was elected president on 28 October 2008, defeating incumbent President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives from 1978-2008. Arrested, imprisoned and tortured in the Maldives on numerous occasions for his political activities, Nasheed is widely credited for playing an instrumental part in bringing freedom and democracy to the Maldives.

On 7 February 2012, democratic progress in the Maldives suffered a major setback when Nasheed was forced to resign the presidency under the threat of violence, in a coup d'etat perpetrated by security forces loyal to Gayoom.

Nasheed was born in Male, Republic of Maldives, on 17 May 1967. He attended Majeediyya School, Male between 1971-1981, the Overseas School in Colombo in 1981, and The Dauntsey's School in England between 1982-1984. Nasheed remained in the UK for his higher education, graduating from Liverpool University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Maritime Studies.

Nasheed's early political career was dominated by his non-violent struggle for democracy in the Maldives. In 1990, he helped establish Sangu, a political magazine that scrutinized the ruling political class. Within its first year, the government banned the publication, and Nasheed was arrested and jailed for the first of many times. In 1991, Amnesty International declared Nasheed a 'prisoner of conscience'.

In 1999, Nasheed was elected MP for Male but was stripped of his seat soon afterwards and jailed once again. He spent 18 months in jail, including long periods in solitary confinement.

On 20 September 2003, the Maldives was rocked by political unrest when hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Male after hearing of the murder of Evan Naseem, an imprisoned youth who was tortured to death by Maafushi Jail guards. Sensing an underlying current for change, Nasheed fled the Maldives and, on 10 November 2004, co-founded the country's first opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), in exile in Sri Lanka.

In 2004, Nasheed was granted refugee status by the British government and granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. After spending 18 months in self-imposed exile, Nasheed returned to the Maldives on 30 April 2005 to establish the MDP in the Maldives, defying a government edict banning political parties. The government overturned its ban on political parties on 2 June 2005, and Nasheed was elected Chairperson of the MDP on 20 December 2005.

Between 2005-2008, Nasheed initiated a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in the Maldives, to pressure the government to speed up the implementation of democratic reforms. He was arrested in August 2005 during a non-violent protest and accused of 'terrorism,' a charge that the government later dropped.

In April 2008, Nasheed won the MDP primaries to become the MDP's candidate for President.

President 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 President 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 President Nasheed in its list of 'World's Ten Best Leaders'. In 2012, The Island President, a documentary feature film about Nasheed, was released in theatres worldwide.

Entries by Mohamed Nasheed

A Year on From the UN Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, It Is Time for Action

(2) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 7:21 PM

By Jose Ramos-Horta, Mohamed Nasheed, Geoffrey Nice, David Alton and Benedict Rogers

A year ago yesterday, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on North Korea's human rights record published its damning report. It concluded that "the gravity, scale and nature" of the human rights violations in...

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Why the World Must March for the Climate

(13) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 4:29 PM

One of the more remarkable days in my political career came in the fall of 2009. The climate change activists at were putting together their first big global day of action, and they asked us in the Maldives for help. I was the newly elected president, and...

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The Need for Asian Climate Leadership

(8) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 5:50 PM

For decades, Asian leaders largely ignored climate change. It's a Western problem, we said. They caused the problem by dumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere; let them clean it up. Instead, we Asian leaders focused on reducing poverty by growing our economies.

We were not responsible for the pollution,...

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Real Conservatives Don't Burn Coal

(22) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 1:07 PM

I am a political conservative and an environmentalist -- a position, it seems, that is increasingly irreconcilable. Australia's conservative-minded Coalition government is busy dismantling a carbon tax. Canada's Conservative government has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol. And in the U.S., the tea party is purging Republicans who agree with the...

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The Politics of Energy Is Changing

(99) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 9:55 AM

In February, Russia launched a new Arctic strategy, the latest signal of its intent in the contested, melting polar region. Closer to the equator, temperatures rose in the South China Sea, as Asian nations vied over a cluster of uninhabited islands. Meanwhile, negotiations over the future of Iran's nuclear programme...

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Abuses Of Power In The Maldives

(2) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 1:43 PM

Written by Mohamed Nasheed on October 10, 2012

Most people know the Maldives for its luxurious over-water honeymoon suites or 'how to spend it' beach villas. But I write this article having just spent a night in an altogether different class of accommodation: a Maldivian jail cell. I am no...

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How To Plan The Perfect Coup: Lessons From Fiji And The Maldives

(18) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 1:00 PM

In 2006, in the Pacific island nation of Fiji, troops overran the capital city, threatened the Prime Minister, forced his resignation, placed him under house arrest, imposed censorship on the media, and the coup leader, in the form of the head of the army, went on television to declare himself...

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Renewable Energy As Solution And Responsibility

(19) Comments | Posted August 24, 2012 | 3:00 PM

India's power sector has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. Last month, technical problems in India's over-stretched electricity grid plunged half the country, some 600 million people, into darkness for up to two days, in the worst power outage in history.


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The Maldives' Political Tailspin And The Future Of Our Democracy

(55) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 10:22 AM

Tourism officials describe the Maldives as "the sunny side of life," but for those of us who live there, an archipelago nation of 1,200 coral islands off the southern tip of India, there is a dark side to paradise. This weekend, pro-democracy activists hijacked a government tourism campaign,...

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Climate Change Requires a Real Movement

(27) Comments | Posted September 20, 2009 | 4:18 PM

Here in the Maldives, it's easy to see why the math of the current climate change debate just doesn't add up -- and why negotiators are going to have to work a lot harder before the Copenhagen climate conference if they're interested in the survival of much of the planet.

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