After spending 24 hours in detention, former Maldivian President and 350 Messenger Mohamed Nasheed on Wednesday was released from police custody for charges of abduction relating to the detention of a senior judge shortly before he was forced out of power over a year ago. Supporters maintain his ouster was a coup d’état and his arrest was aimed at preventing him from participating in the presidential election scheduled for September.
Nasheed gained international attention as a veteran human rights campaigner and vigorous champion of the need for global action on climate change. As President, he confronted 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 faced 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. Despite the modest size of his country, Mohamed Nasheed has become one of the leading international voices for urgent action on climate change.
There are two ways you can spread the word about President Nasheed by attending or hosting a screening of The Island President:
Join a screening in your town or city via PBS Independent Lens, which hosts free screenings and discussions throughout the country.
Host a special Earth Day screening of the captivating documentary The Island President through through Tugg.com, which partners with local theaters to host special screenings.