Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, and subject of the award winning documentary The Island President has reportedly been granted refugee status in Britain.
Nasheed was in Britain on medical leave from a 13-year prison sentence on terrorism charges.
The former president, Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected head of state, was jailed for ordering the military to arrest a sitting senior judge, which the court said was an abduction punishable under a section of an antiterrorism law. He was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to thirteen years in prison.
Mohamed Nasheed had earlier resigned the presidency in February 2012, after weeks of demonstrations and a mutiny by some police officers.
The Island President, directed by Jon Shenk, is the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced—the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives enough to make them uninhabitable.
The Island President captures Nasheed’s first year of office, culminating in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, where the film provides a rare glimpse of the political horse-trading that goes on at such a top-level global assembly. Nasheed is unusually candid about revealing his strategies—leveraging the Maldives’ underdog position as a tiny country, harnessing the power of media, and overcoming deadlocks through an appeal to unity with other developing nations. When hope fades for a written accord to be signed, Nasheed makes a stirring speech which salvages an agreement. Despite the modest size of his country, Mohamed Nasheed has become one of the leading international voices for urgent action on climate change.