Maldivian crisis: Agitators open prison gate where 12 MPs being held

Feb 04, 2018, 02:16
Maldivian crisis: Agitators open prison gate where 12 MPs being held

'I was under the belief I had already started my campaign, but today, I say, with the grace of God, I kick off my campaign and bid for presidency' President Yameen said.

As the supporters of former President Mohamed Nasheed continue to clash with the police in the Maldivian capital Male, India has called upon the government of Maldives to free the political prisoners.

"President Yameen must abide by the Supreme Court ruling and release the political leaders immediately".

Current President Yameen Abdul Gayoom had been set to run for re-election virtually unopposed, with all of his opponents either jailed or exiled. In July, Maldivian security forces locked down parliament on Yameen's orders, as the alliance mounted an attempt to impeach the parliamentary speaker, an ally of the president. In a statement last month while in neighboring Sri Lanka, Nasheed said the opposition parties were in discussion to field a common candidate if he is unable to run. The government's pressure on the court during trials of political prisoners violated the Maldives' Constitution and global law, they said in a statement.

The court ordered the immediate release of high-profile prisoners and held that "the prisoners were free until fair trials could be conducted without undue influence".

Human rights group Amnesty International said the court decision should be a turning point for the nation.

It said their trials had violated the constitution.

An Indian Ocean nation known for its luxury tourist resorts, Maldives became a multiparty democracy 10 years ago after decades of autocratic rule. He has maintained a tight grip on power, controlling institutions such as the judiciary and police. However, it lost much of its democratic gains after Gayoom's 2013 election. The half brothers have since fallen out, and the former leader has joined the opposition.

The court decision effectively restores the opposition's majority in parliament, reinstating 12 members who had been stripped of their seats.

Adeeb was sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2016, charged with corruption, possession of illegal firearms and planning to kill by triggering an explosion on his speedboat. In this regard, the Attorney General said that the Prosecutor General was now in the process of examining the cases to determine the best way to proceed with the implementation of the Supreme Court's ruling, and that the Prosecutor General would present recommendations at the earliest. However, FBI investigators said they found no evidence of a bomb blast.

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