A picture taken on Aug. 1, 2016 shows a boat crossing off the island of Male, the capital of the Maldives. / AFP / Ishara KODIKARA
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The Maldives legalized criminal defamation Tuesday in a move criticized by the United Nations and which the opposition said was aimed at stifling dissent.President Abdulla Yameen's administration went ahead with the defamation law despite criticism from the United Nations, rights groups and Western nations including the United States, Britain, Germany and the European Union.The bill was passed by a 16-vote majority led by Yameen's ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.Those found guilty will be fined between 50,000 Maldivian rufiya ($3,200) and 2 million rufiya ($130,000) or face a jail term of between three and six months.Transparency Maldives, condemning the bill, said its passage through parliament had not addressed the serious concerns raised by local media organisations, political parties, civil society groups and international organisations.
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