Enter my hero: Amal Clooney is Back in the Spotlight

Amal Clooney is a lot of things: an internationally acclaimed human-rights lawyer, a past advisor to Kofi Annan, an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and the wife of George Clooney. To me, however, she is simply a stand-up role model for young women like myself, and a hero, in the truest sense of the term.

I am deeply moved by her sense of passion and devotion to human rights, something I share, and could not be more impressed by her latest cause: addressing democracy and human rights abuses in the Maldives. In the two years that Amal has been linked to George Clooney, I have never once seen her use her status to flaunt herself in front of the camera. And after two years and endless curiosity from the media and gossip columnists, she’s doing her very first interview to talk about this very important case.

I wouldn’t expect anything less of this woman, who seems downright uninterested in the playing the fame-game. Instead, she’s using her last name for something better: awareness, advocacy, and hopefully action against the atrocities taking place in the Maldives. If you’ve ever wondered just how morally upstanding is Amal Clooney, I highly encourage you to read this story or watch the interviews and witness the brilliance and righteousness firsthand.


Amal Clooney sits down with Cynthia McFadden of NBC news in an exclusive interview

The article below was written by NBC news:

Enter Amal Clooney–yes, the wife of George Clooney–but better known for her work on human rights violations. Her most recent case brought her to Washington DC where she sat down with Cynthia McFadden of NBC news in her first American Network TV interview to discuss her latest case, a client who went from being president to prisoner in the Maldives.

The 37-year-old attorney is representing Mohamed Nasheed, who rode a wave of pro-democracy protests into office and led the tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean for three years before being forced out and jailed.

Thus, Clooney is calling for sanctions against members of the Maldives’ current regime until they free Nasheed, whose conviction and 13-year sentence has been criticized by the State Department and the United Nations.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.14.28 PM.png

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney talks about her latest legal battle in an exclusive Meet the Press interview with Chuck Todd.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, she took aim at political repression, human rights abuses and rising jihadism in the archipelago, where a $2 billion tourist economy is fueled by pristine beaches, blue lagoons and coral reefs.

“Democracy is dead in the Maldives,” said Clooney, who has been doing human rights work for 15 years. “Literally, if there were an election now there would be no one to run against the president. Every opposition leader is either behind bars or being pursued by the government through the courts.”

As the Oxford-educated lawyer met with Sen. John McCain and other members of Congress, she was all business. There was no talk about her husband of one year, activist actor-director George Clooney.

But sitting down later, she did acknowledge that her newfound celebrity — a blog devoted to her style choices noted she wore Dolce & Gabbana to D.C. — means more attention for whatever she does on or off the red carpet.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 4.14.44 PM.png

Amal and husband, George Clooney.

“I think there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with that,” she said. “And I think I’m exercising it in an appropriate manner by continuing to do this kind of work.”

For 30 years, the Maldives was ruled by one man, Mamoun Abdul Gayoom, and during his tenure, Nasheed, a government critic, was jailed 20 times. Three years after returning from self-exile in 2005, Nasheed beat Gayoom in the country’s first-ever multiparty elections.

The media-savvy new leader’s positions on climate change and democratic reform won him praise from the West and the starring role in “Island President,” a documentary about the Maldives, which are only eight feet above sea level, and the threat of rising waters from global warming.

Nasheed didn’t finish out his turbulent first term, leaving the presidency in early 2012. The circumstances remain in dispute; the government says he voluntarily stepped down amid a crush of opposition, while he maintains it was a gunpoint coup d’etat.

Either way, he was soon under in custody and charged with terrorism for ordering the arrest of a judge during his time as president. U.N. officials blasted his trial as “clearly flawed” and a “mockery” of the constitution.

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed

Nasheed’s appeal is now with the Maldives’ highest court, but Clooney said she has no confidence in the judiciary, where a quarter of the judges have criminal records, according to a 2012 State Department report.

She said sanctions are needed to force the regime — now helmed by Gayoom’s half-brother as president — to release her client, whom she is representing for free; as he currently sits in prison over a year after his initial arrest.

“And so we’re calling on states like the U.S. to now use the tools at their disposal, including targeted sanctions — which means travel bans, which means freezing assets of those officials in the Maldives who are most responsible for human rights abuses.”

According to a U.N. report, at least 200 people from the Maldives have joined the terror gang in Syria and Iraq — the equivalent, Clooney says, of 14,000 Australians running off to the caliphate.

“We know that the Maldives isn’t typically on the top of people’s to-do list, so we’re encouraged that we got such high-level meetings with some of the people we’re meeting today,” she said before a face-to-face on Tuesday with Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y.

Then it was onto Sen. Chris Murphy, who raised some questions about whether the U.S. needs to apply sanctions more evenly across the globe, followed by meetings with Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey.

The next day, her team met with McCain, who promised her, “We’ll go to work on it.”

Clooney has no intentions of giving up any time soon: “We’ll keep pushing until we get him released, which is what the U.N. has said should be done. We are not gonna give up,” she said. “It could be still be a long wait ahead. I hope it’s not. But we’ll keep pushing.”

– END –

Sources: NBCnews.com

Sources: Meet the Press with Chuck Todd (NBC news)

Sources: Levo.com

Cover Photo: Amal Clooney Style Twitter

Photo of Amal Clooney NBC Exclusive: Levo.com

Photo Amal Clooney Meet the Press: Meet the Press Twitter Account

Photo of Amal and George Clooney: Huffington Post Entertainment

Photo of Mohamed Nasheed: The Gaurdian

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