CHRISTIANS in the Maldives have few rights, but until now the courts protected those rights. Now, the government is increasingly controlling the courts and ignoring the law, leaving Christians vulnerable.

The Maldivian government has just suspended one-third of all lawyers in the islands after they tried to submit a petition to the Supreme Court calling for the rule of law to be respected. The 56 lawyers who signed the petition were all suspended.

The Maldives is one of the most difficult places in the world to be a Christian. The 2008 constitution bans Muslims from becoming Christians, which means someone who becomes a Christian could be stripped of their citizenship.

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In 1998, the government arrested 50 Maldivians suspected of having become Christians, and tortured them. Any Maldivian found to have a Bible in their house faces a prison sentence.

They suffer because of laws preventing them openly living as Christians, and now the government is simply ignoring even the few legal freedoms they do have.
B McKenna
Dumbarton