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Maafushi Prison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maafushi Prison
Maafushi island.jpg
LocationMaafushi, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives
Coordinates3°56′12″N 73°29′11″E / 3.93667°N 73.48639°E / 3.93667; 73.48639
Security classMaximum
Population483 males and 36 females, as of February 2011 p.14
Managed byMaldives Police Service (MPS) and the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) under the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS)

Maafushi Prison is a prison in Maafushi on Kaafu Atoll in the Maldives, 18 miles (29 km) south of the capital, Malé. It is the largest prison on the islands and has held numerous political prisoners over the years, including the former president, Mohamed Nasheed. As of February 2020, former president Abdulla Yameen is an inmate at the prison.[1]


Former president of Maldives imprisoned in Maafushi Prison
Former president of Maldives imprisoned in Maafushi Prison

In September 2003, an uprising broke out at the prison, which resulted in the deaths of inmates Hassan Evan Naseem and Abdulla Amin. 12 others were taken to Sri Lanka for injuries, and another, Ali Aalaam, later died.[2] The beating of the 19-year-old Naseem to death during the uprising caused a public outcry, and resulted in riots in Malé after his family displayed his disfigured body to the locals.[3]

At around 7 am on August 13, 2004, the prison was taken during Black Friday. Later that day, Fathimath Nisreen, the secretary of online Sandhaan publishers Ahmed Didi and Mohamed Zaki, were arrested by the National Security Service (NSS) during a crackdown on pro-democracy reformists and taken to Maafushi. Didi was taken to Girifushi due to health problems, but Zaki was incarcerated at Maafushi on 16 August.[4]

In 2009 a number of riots and jailbreaks broke out, and on January 10 detainees went on a hunger strike in protest at the government's failure to improve the poor conditions of overcrowding and inadequate lighting.[5] Prisoners set the prison on fire in April, affecting the health centre, a workshop and a desalination plant, and on April 5 a raid on the prison found homemade bombs, knives, Islamic extremist literature and more. A further riot in October 2009 caused further extensive damage to the prison through arson.[5] Trouble continued the following year, with 15 prisoners injured during a riot in April, and a petition by 236 Maafushi inmates in July to the president, asking for improvements to the prison.[6]

In April 2013, inmates and staff of the prison were all tested for tuberculosis after one detainee was tested positive with it.[7]

The year 2014 witnessed many attacks by the inmates. On 17 October 2014, two murder convicts – Fariyash Ahmed of Gaafu Alifu, Maamendhoo and Ibrahim Shahum Adam of Malé – escaped from the prison by cutting the rods of the ventilator. Following this escape the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) initiated steps to reinforce the security system in the prison.[8] On 1 December 2014 two more murder convicts – Ibrahim Shahum Adam and Fariyash Ahmed escaped from the prison but were caught soon thereafter. In another incident during an inspection visit to the prison cells four officers of the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) were attacked by the inmates and two suffered serious injuries.[9] These incidents have necessitated strengthening the existing 20 ft high wall with additional security measures such as electronic surveillance cameras, better lights and automatic locking systems.[9]

In September 2015, British barrister Amal Clooney met Mohamed Nasheed, the jailed former president of the Maldives, at the prison ahead of a court hearing over his imprisonment.[10][11]

Prison reforms

After the September 2003 death of Hassan Evan Naseem in Maafushi Prison, the UNDP carried out a study of the prison conditions. Now, the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has been put in place with the task of running the Maafushi Prison. Action has been initiated to evolve a reformed criminal justice system in the country. The measures undertaken are in the form of establishing the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM). On 7 August 2008 a new constitution was ratified with incorporation of a clause on the bill of rights. Many more reforms are on the anvil, such as the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Bill, Prison & Parole Bill and Drugs Bill.[12]

Notable inmates


  1. ^ ‘Home Minister meets jailed ex-pres’ news report in Avas Online - a news outlet registered with the Government of the Maldives - as reported on 24 Feb. 2020 [accessed on 21 June 2020]
  2. ^ Country reports on human rights practices. U.S. G.P.O. 2004. p. 2113.
  3. ^ Maldives. Lonely Planet. 1997. p. 24.
  4. ^ a b c "Ahmed Didi, Mohamed Zaki and Fathimath Nisreen, Sandhaanu IMPRISONED". Committee to Protect Journalists. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009. Government Printing Office. p. 2547. GGKEY:NN89UP1JS4T.
  6. ^ Freedom in the World 2011: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 1 December 2011. p. 424. ISBN 978-1-4422-0996-1.
  7. ^ "Maafushi Prison staff and inmates screened for TB". SunFM. 16 April 2003. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Police to assist with Maafushi Prison security after jail break". Minivian News. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Two detention officers seriously injured after attacks at Maafushi Prison By Ismail Humaam Hamid". Minivan News. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Amal Clooney in Maldives human rights mission". Telegraph. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Amal Clooney meets Maldives' jailed ex-leader before hearing". Reuters. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Prison Assessment and Proposed Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offenders Report" (pdf). UNDP Organization. p. 6.
  13. ^ Bergner, Jeffrey T. (1 August 2008). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008: Vols. I and II: Joint Committee Print, U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate. DIANE Publishing. p. 2393. ISBN 978-1-4379-0522-9.
  14. ^ The Amnesty International Report. Amnesty International Publications. 2005. p. 172.
This page was last edited on 15 August 2020, at 20:16
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