POLITICS
24/06/2015 09:23 BST | Updated 24/06/2015 11:59 BST

Amal Clooney Meets David Cameron As Part Of Campaign To Free Former Maldives President

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Amal Clooney leaves the Supreme Court in London, as she is part of the legal team representing former residents of the Chagos Islands who challenged a decision made six years ago by the House of Lords which dashed their hopes of returning home to their native islands in the Indian Ocean.

David Cameron met Amal Clooney in the House of Commons today as she took her human rights campaign to Parliament.

The Prime Minister had a ‘brush-by’ meeting with the leading lawyer and with the wife of jailed former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed.

Mr Nasheed, the small island nation's first democratically elected president, was removed by a coup in 2012.

In February he was arrested, charged with 'terrorism' and sentenced to 13 years in prison after a controversial trial, during which he was denied access to his lawyer.

Mrs Clooney, who is a barrister with Doughty Street Chambers in London, argues that Mr Nasheed is being held in violation of international law and has submitted a case with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

She and Mr Nasheed’s wife Laila attended Prime Minister’s Question Time today as the guests of Tory backbencher Fiona Bruce, who has long campaigned for the rights of religious minorities across the globe.

A Downing Street source told The Huffington Post UK that the Prime Minister “takes a keen interest in this case”.

“They had a short chat after PMQs, just before the Prime Minister set off for Berlin [for a meeting with The Queen and Angela Merkel].”

Maldivian MP Eva Abdulla tweeted a photo of the meeting later.

Mrs Clooney's visit to the Commons coincided with a protest by disabled rights campaigners who tried to get into the chamber during PMQs, leaving some slightly starstruck at the coincidence of it all.

Mr Cameron once referred to Mr Nasheed as 'my new best friend' and he has been the star guest speaker at a Tory party conference.

Although a magnet for holidaymakers, the Maldives has suffered from one of the worst human rights records in South East Asia over several decades.

mohamed nasheed

After years of fighting for human rights for his people, Mr Nasheed became the first elected president in 2009 after defeating dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

He was named an Amnesty International "prisoner of conscience" in 1991 and was imprisoned 16 times, missing the birth of his two daughters.

YouTube videos of leaders of his Maldivian Democratic party beaten up and hospitalised have been beamed around the world, as has footage of Nasheed and his wife being dragged from their home by paramilitaries on behalf of the regime.

Clips of his arrest sparked an international outrcy earlier this year.

Many Tories have strong links with the Nasheed family and former candidate Benedict Rogers blogged for The HuffPost UK last month on why he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mrs Clooney appeared at the Supreme Court in London earlier this week to represent former residents of the Chagos Islands, who were forced to move from their homes in the 1960s to make way for a U.S. airbase.