Police are questioning a man for graffitiing the words ‘terrorists’ and ‘child killers’ on the wall of the American Center in Malé.

Although the authorities have not disclosed further details, the man, identified as Ahmed Sobah, has acknowledged that a case has been filed against him in connection with the incident.

Sobah, in a social media post, explained his actions as a work of artistic expression and that he was motivated to act as a protest against Israel’s massacre, in solidarity with Palestinians.

“My client [has been] charged for expressing himself against the genocide in Palestine. As an artist he used his art. We call upon the @PGO_MV [Prosecutor General’s Office] to look at this in the light of Human Rights and Freedom of Expression. He only hurt feelings,” Hamza Khaleel, Sobah’s lawyer, posted on social media while also sharing a statement by his client.

The American Center Malé, which was established in 2004, is the US Embassy’s cultural exchange presence in the Maldives and has the stated goal of providing employment and leadership skills for youth while also promoting English language learning, and fostering goodwill and mutual understanding.

“The artwork I created was born out of a profound sense of empathy and solidarity with the Palestinian people who have endured unimaginable suffering. It was a symbolic expression of my anguish and frustration over the continued violence and oppression faced by Palestinians. It was in a moment of emotional bereavement that engulfed me after seeing the images of the murdered children of Gaza and Raffah,” Sobah explained in his statement.

The United States (US) is seen as Israel’s biggest ally, standing firm in their support even as the Jewish state continues its campaign of genocide against the Palestinian people. The US has been providing, and continues to provide, Israel with significant financial assistance as well as weapons.

The US Senate, earlier this month, passed law that could sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC) — an action seen by many as a rebuke of ICC efforts to arrest top Israeli officials for alleged war crimes in Gaza. Top US legislators, in late May, issued a formal invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the US Congress in a show of support for Israel even as prosecutor at the war-crimes court, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants to be issued against Netanyahu and other key leaders of Israel — warrants applications were also filed for key figures of Hamas.