A former political prisoner won a decisive victory yesterday in the Maldives' first democratic election, the Telegraph reports, ousting Asia's longest-serving leader. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who came to power in 1978, conceded defeat to former journalist Mohamed Nasheed—a man he jailed 13 times and who walks with a limp from multiple bouts of torture.
The Indian Ocean islands’ reputation as a tourist paradise disguises a darker reality: The poverty-wracked archipelago has endured three decades of political repression, state violence, and increasing Islamic fundamentalism. Nasheed, whom his supporters hail as a local Nelson Mandela, promised not to take revenge on his former jailer, and pledged to hold unprecedented parliamentary elections in February. (Read more Maldives stories.)