‘Blasphemy’ Charges Against NGO Head “Politically Motivated” – MDP

The Maldivian Democratic Party is deeply concerned over alleged “blasphemy” charges filed by the police against Shahindha Ismail, Executive Director of human rights NGO, Maldivian Democracy Network.

On Sunday, the Maldives Police Services summoned Shahindha and questioned her over a tweet she posted on 21 December 2017 in response to a claim made by President Abdulla Yameen.

A criminal investigation was launched against her based on the tweet, under section 617 of the penal code (Criticizing Islam).

The MDP believes the police investigation is blatantly politically motivated, and nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and silence a human rights defender.

In addition to Shahindha, a number of civil society activists are facing criminal investigations for reporting on government corruption, speaking out against violent extremism or the rise of authoritarianism.

The MDP calls on the Maldives Police Services to withdraw the charges against Shahindha, ensure her safety, and to refrain from escalating the issue by using Islam as a tool to persecute her.