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Former Westminster Student Released from Maldives Prison

Posted: Jul 14, 2012 6:57 PM by Matt Evans
Updated: Jul 19, 2012 7:01 PM

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FULTON - After spending about a day in prison in the Republic of Maldives, Shauna Aminath is now free on the grounds that she not protest for the next 21 days. Aminath, a 2008 Westminster grad, was protesting the Maldives non-democratic government when she was arrested Friday. Saturday morning, Westminster college officials received word she had been released.

"I am greatly relieved that she has been released in what appears to be a peaceful resolution to her plight," said President of Westminster College Barney Forsythe in an email to students, faculty, and staff. "We are so thankful to receive this wonderful news this morning and wish her well in the days ahead."

Aminath is originally from the Maldives, a small island nation off the coast of India. She was an active student during her time at Westminster. Aminath was the president of ECOS, or Environmentally Concerned Student Council, worked as a residence hall adviser, and served as a student ambassador. She graduated from Westminster with a degree in political science, economics, and environmental science.

John Langton, one of Aminath's former professors and Department Chair of the Political Science Department at Westminster, said Aminath is a strong and courageous person who always stood up for what she thought was right. He said he is relieved that she is out of police custody, but is still concerned for her safety.

"I don't think this puts her out of danger. Because given who Shauna is and her values, I don't think she is going to give up on trying to have democracy restored in her country," said Langton.

In the Madlives, Aminanth was previously the Deputy Undersecretary for the adminstration of President Mohamed Nasheed. However, Nasheed was forced to step down Feb. 7 in a coup d'etat. Aminath is now the president of the youth wing of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

Langton said he feared that it was going to be difficult for Aminath to get out of prison, but was glad she was released quickly. He also said he is calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to take a more forceful position to restore democracy in the Maldives.

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