The Republic of the Maldives is an Asian archipelago-based country just south of India, consisting of 1,190 islands, of which only 198 are inhabited by just 350,000 citizens. Almost one-third of Maldives’s total population lives in the capital and largest city, Male. In 1978 the newly appointed President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom started a 30-year autocratic regime that quashed all forms of opposition with despotism, media and political spinning, and repression aided by Islamic extremists’ violent actions.

During his presidency, Gayoom improved the country’s economic growth by supporting tourism development, but wealth distribution disparities were enormous, exploitation and corruption were rampant, and most people lived in poverty, with average wages of $1 per day for up to 40 percent of the population. This scenario allowed organized criminal ...

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