Monday, November 01, 2004

The caption "Writers languish in Maldivian jail

01 Nov 2004 - The caption "Writers languish in Maldivian jail" on, linked in Dhivehi Observer deserves some comments. For most people outside Maldives, Mohamed Zaki, Ahmed Didi and Ibrahim Luthfee are writers, but nothing can be as far from reality as this. Let me try and put this in the perspective of a Maldivian. Mohamed Zaki is a Radio Operator by profession, and he made his money by smuggling endangered turtle shells from Maldives to Japan, and from bribes he got for sending Maldivian sailors to Iranian ships during Iran Iraq war. His interest in politics started with the campaign for the election of his relative Mohamed Waheed to parliament. His basic education is below secondary level and will not be able to write 100 words in English without spelling and grammar mistakes. His businesses are complete failures due to bad management and he is in debt up to his neck to the banks. Ahmed Didi, again a Radio Operator who worked for Maldives Shipping Ltd, started off with a grievance against the then Deputy Minister Ilyas Ibrahim regarding the confiscation of some mattresses which he brought from Singapore being confiscated by the Shipping Company, for reasons which were arguable. He is among the group of sea men involved in smuggling to Maldives, for own profit. He has been ever since criticizing the government in the cafeterias and wherever he goes. Some of his arguments have merit while most are slander and people in Male' often take him for fun. His political debut started with his nomination for parliament seat of Addu Atoll, and being arrested during the election. Ibrahim Luthfee, started off with Frontier Video and Computer land, and after becoming almost bankrupt after some bad business deals, never had a paying job and lived on welfare of friends. The project for Sandhaanu evolved when the business tycoon recruited him for an IT venture named E-Maldives. Mr.Luthfee has not completed secondary level education, but he goes on to comment on everything from Law to Political change on Dhivehi Observer's radio Minivan Radio. He went to the extent of commenting that the current AG Dr.Hassan Saeed, one of the most educated Maldivians as unfit for the office! Those of you who are criticizing the Maldivian government for the arrest and conviction of the above three, have you ever read the so called Sandhaanu? If there were libel laws like Singapore in Maldives, all three would have been fined in millions. While there were some good writings contributed by professionals in Maldives, Sandhaanu carried mostly slander and was targeted to created hatred against the elected government. While we do not have laws, we do have laws which can be used to control them and what the government did was right. For Reporters without borders, or Amnesty, to criticize without properly investigating who you are trying to protect, will only tarnish your image!


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