Update on Status
of Maldivian Religious Prisoners
Christian Women Coerced
into Ritual Islamic Prayer
and Reading the Quran

11 August 98  It has been learned by means of a phone call to 
the husband of one of the imprisoned believers that he had been 
told that he would be allowed to see his wife every Monday for ten 
minutes, and had indeed been able to visit her at least twice. Other 
husbands of imprisoned women have had no visiting privileges 
during the entire time of imprisonment. On Monday, 10 August, he 
was able to see his wife (Aneesa Hussein). He said she was crying 
a lot, (understandable if she is physically abused and has only ten 
minutes of contact a week). 

She is kept alone in a cell measuring 2 meters long x 1 meter wide 
x 2.3 meters high. It is concrete with no ceiling (i.e. an extra 
wooden ceiling under the tin roof, which would provide a bit of 
insulation against the sun's beating heat) and always remains very 
hot, except on rainy days. She has a ration of ten liters of water per 
day which includes water needed for washing and bathing.

He also was able to speak with another imprisoned relative who 
told him that the imprisoned believers are doing their five daily 
ritual Islamic prayers and reading the Qur'an (by coercion), but 
other conditions (i.e. food, general treatment) are OK. He also said 
there were a few men being held at Dhoonidhoo and some in 
Gaamadhu (the other prison island, on which prisoners supposedly 
are allowed to walk around freely).

He mentioned that the President Gayoom's photographer (a 
suspected believer named Hassan Najumi, a person we thought had 
been released already) was still in jail. He referred to one of the 
other male prisoners being from the outer islands (i.e. not from 
Male'). He was not able to confirm the names of any other 
prisoners. He said that some Maldivians say the prisoners will 
probably be held for a year and a half in prison.

18 August 98: By means of another phone call to this same man, 
we have learned that he had been denied visiting privileges on 
Monday the 17th of August. 

Please join in the international letter-writing campaign to the 
Maldivian government on behalf of the persecuted believers.

  • When you write, be courteous, to the point, and do not use any anti-Islamic rhetoric. Remind the government that as UN members they are bound by Article 18 of the UN Charter, which guarantees freedom of religion.
  • You might note that Maldivian citizens and indeed all Muslims, are free to build mosques, worship and proclaim Islam in the nominally Christian nations of the West.
  • Express particular concern that the prisoners are being held for no crime, and should not be imprisoned for seeking God in their own way.
  • Use the addresses/faxes below:
    President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Presidential Palace Orchid Magu, Maafanu, Male' REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES Fax: +960-31-3506 or +960-32-5095 Mr. Zaki, Minister of Tourism Two Star, Bodhuthakurufaanu Magu, Heneveiru Male' REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES Fax: +960-32-2512 Minister of Foreign Affairs Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Henveiru Male' REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES Fax: +960-31-7592 The High Commissioner Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the UN 820 Second Ave. Suite 800C New York, NY 10017 USA Fax: +1-212-661-6405 Email: Mdvun@undp.org Websites: http://www.undp.org/missions/maldives/ http://www.haveeru.com/saarc97/maldiv.htm http://www.visitmaldives.com/

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