Amal Clooney: ‘I Don’t Consider Myself a Celebrity’
George Clooney’s wife Amal Clooney does not consider herself a celebrity, but she is grateful her fame allows her to spotlight human rights issues around the world.
The international human rights attorney, who wed Hail, Caesar! star Clooney in 2014, insists she’ll never let the added attention that comes with her marriage get in the way of her work as she seeks justice for prisoners of conscience and those wrongly accused of crimes.
“I think it’s wonderful that celebrities would choose to use their time or energy or the spotlight that they have to raise awareness about these causes,” she told the Today show Friday. “I don’t really see myself in the same way because I’m still doing the same job that I used to do before. If there’s more attention paid for whatever reason to that, then I think that’s good. I think there is a certain responsibility that comes with that. I think I’m exercising it in an appropriate manner by continuing to do this kind of work and engaging with the media on issues that I think are important.”
The 37-year-old Oxford University graduate recently spent time in Washington, D.C., meeting with U.S. politicians and policy makers about the ongoing political crisis in the Maldives.
Clooney is currently representing the nation’s former leader Mohamed Nasheed, who was convicted of terrorism last March for arresting a chief judge in January 2012.
Mrs. Clooney flew to the Maldives to visit her client in prison last year and saw first hand how bad the situation is. One of her colleagues was stabbed just before she arrived and now she’s requesting U.S. lawmakers form a resolution to push forth sanctions against the reigning government.
“Democracy is dead in the Maldives,” she said. “I mean, 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.”
“I think it’s important for tourists to know the facts of what’s happening in the Maldives,” she continued. “I don’t think people realize that there’s a flogging taking place a kilometer away when they’re sunbathing in their resort.”
Amal insists the stabbing of her co-counsel hasn’t scared her away from representing Nasheed.
“It wasn’t the most comfortable position to be in, but I was determined to go,” she added. “It meant a lot to me to (represent) Nasheed, who I had read about and I considered a hero. I was inspired by his leadership on climate justice, his leadership on human rights and his commitment to that.”
“If you are a lawyer and you want to take on easier cases, you can prosecute traffic violations or something,” she scoffed. “You’d have a very high rate of success and you probably could sleep more easily at night. But that’s not what drives me. I want to work on cases that I feel the most passionate about.”