9 Oct 2008

'Dictator' Gayoom faces ex-prisoner Nasheed in first free election on Maldives

Maumoon Abdul GayoomAsia's longest-serving ruler was up against a former political prisoner compared by some to Nelson Mandela as the Maldives held its first multiparty presidential elections yesterday.

Mamoun Abdul Gayoom, the 71-year-old President, won the six polls since 1978 as the only candidate on the ballot, before pro-democracy protests forced him to lift a ban on political parties in 2006.

He says that he will still win at least 50 per cent of the vote in a country he has transformed into South Asia's richest per capita, based on luxury resorts that can charge up to $15,000 (£8,700) for a room.

The front-runner of his five challengers is Mohammed “Anni” Nasheed, 41, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience who spent six years in jail and was given political asylum in Britain in 2004.

Mr Nasheed, who returned to the Maldives in 2005 and now heads the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said: “The people of this country deserve better - we've had a dictatorship for the last 30 years.

Times Online - Dhivehi ObserverBBC

Stop Human Rights Abuse and Torture in Maldives

The terror continues .....
arbitrary arrests and detention without charge....

"The Truth : Gayoom is a tyrant" provides lots of information and documentation