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Aishath Rasheed

Aishath Rasheed

Aishath Rasheed

Ms. Aishath Rasheed is a biotechnologist by profession and is the Chairperson of the Association for Democracy in the Maldives (ADM), a civil and political rights organisation with a focus on enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killing based on religion. ADM assists victim families to promote fair investigations and trials and facilitates international advocacy. In addition to assistance to human rights defenders under threat, ADM conducts public awareness on fundamental rights and democratic principles.

Aishath formed ADM as a result of prolonged delays in justice to her brother and popular blogger Yameen Rasheed (2017), and the forcefully disappeared journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdullah (2014). Yameen and Rilwan wrote extensively about violent extremism, corruption and political issues and are believed to have been executed by religious extremists who are being protected by the state.

Aishath continues to fight for justice for Yameen five years after he was murdered and for Rilwan eight years after his abduction. Aishath has since been targeted by religious groups with death threats and persecuted by the government, which dismissed her arbitrarily from her position as a forensic scientist at the Maldives Police Service in 2018.

Since President Abdulla Yameen was elected in 2013, the number of restrictions that hinder civil liberties in the country have increased. The widely condemned arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed in February 2015 and ongoing persecution of other opposition politicians raise concerns about the deterioration of rule of law and human rights in the Maldives. Human rights defenders that advocate for freedom of religion as well as rights within religion are particularly vulnerable, whilst journalists and freedom of expression activists are impeded by both official restrictions and threats to their person. On 23 April 2017, HRD and blogger Yameen Rasheed was stabbed to death after the police failed to address death threats he had received.