Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney speaks at a press conference at the Kurumba Maldives resort in the Maldives island of Vihamanafushi on September 10, 2015. Clooney attended a court hearing September 10 in the Maldives where state prosecutors have done a U-turn to appeal the conviction of former president Mohamed Nasheed. AFP PHOTO
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney speaks at a press conference at the Kurumba Maldives resort in the Maldives island of Vihamanafushi on September 10, 2015. Clooney attended a court hearing September 10 in the Maldives where state prosecutors have done a U-turn to appeal the conviction of former president Mohamed Nasheed. AFP PHOTO

Jared Genser says that the room where he and co-counsel Amal Clooney met with Nasheed at the high security Maafushi prison had been bugged

Colombo : Senior international lawyers defending jailed ex-president Mohamed Nasheed accused Maldivian authorities of spying on them in breach of client confidentiality.

 Washington-based Jared Genser told reporters in the capital Male that the room where he and co-counsel Amal Clooney met with Nasheed at the high security Maafushi prison had been bugged. He said contents of their privileged conversations had leaked to the government and come back to them through an unnamed source who had spoken with Nasheed’s wife, who is currently in London.

  “This was information she (Nasheed’s wife) was very surprised to hear. And it could have only come from the sensitive conversation we were having with Nasheed,” the local Haveeru news website quoted Genser as saying.

He also accused prison guards of filming a meeting between Nasheed and his lawyers.

Four prison guards insisted on staying in the room where Nasheed met with his legal team on Wednesday despite repeated requests for privacy, the private Maldives Independent reported.

It also quoted a spokesman for the Maldives Correctional Service denying that they bugged the conversation between Nasheed and his lawyers.

Clooney attended a court hearing on Wednesday on whether a bizarre appeal by the prosecutor general against Nasheed’s conviction should be allowed or not. A decision is to be announced by court later.

The charge against Nasheed relates to the ordering of the arrest of an allegedly corrupt judge when he was still president in 2012.

Clooney is part of Nasheed’s international legal team and is visiting the archipelago with Genser to press for his immediate release after the UN said his trial earlier this year was seriously flawed.

Faced with mounting international criticism, Maldivian authorities tried to distance themselves from the controversial judgement, saying that the state will take the unusual step of appealing his conviction.

Clooney on Monday described the human rights situation in the Indian Ocean archipelago as “deteriorating day by day.” On Wednesday, she had a one-hour meeting with Maldivian Attorney General Mohamed Anil, but neither side released contents of their talks.

Nasheed’s 13-year jail sentence was commuted to house arrest in July, but last month police took him back to prison in a surprise move that drew fresh criticism from the UN and the US.

Clooney, a respected human rights lawyer who shot to international stardom when she married actor George Clooney, was named in April as part of Nasheed’s international legal team along with Genser — who has previously represented Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi — and Ben Emmerson, a judge on war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

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