Date: Wed, 26 Aug 98 16:11:27 CDT
From: Anna Roberts <>
Subject: AI: The Maldives Bulletin
Article: 41916
To: undisclosed-recipients:;;
Message-ID: <>

At least 20 people

AI Index: ASA 29/06/98, 26 August 1998

Amnesty International remains concerned about at least 20 people who reportedly remain in detention on suspicion of spreading Christian beliefs, and are being held in conditions that appear to amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The majority are held at Dhoonidhoo detention centre, which comes under the direct responsibility of the police, but a small number are also reported to be held at Gaamadhoo Prison, where convicted prisoners are sent to serve their sentences.

The women detainees are reportedly being kept in a small, hot and overcrowded cellwithout adequate sleeping space. At least one woman has been continuously held in solitary confinement. All the detainees are reportedly being forced to perform daily ritual Islamic prayers and reading the Qur’an.

In response to appeals by Amnesty International members on behalf of these detainees, the Maldives Government stated in a letter dated 18 July 1998 that “the allegations claiming that a number of persons arrested in the Maldives for the peaceful exercise of their religious beliefs are false and totally baseless. Similarly reports about the alleged beating of persons in custody are unfounded”.

Furthermore, The Weekend Express newspaper, published in Sri Lanka on 11 July, reported that the High Commissioner of the Maldives to Sri Lanka had “refuted allegations of persons held in police custody in the Maldives due to their faith in Christianity”. However, continuous reports reaching Amnesty International indicate that the prisoners remain in detention for the non-violent expression of their religious beliefs.