Former President Mohamed Nasheed has pledged to defend Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim ‘until his last breath’.
Speaking at a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally in the capital Malé yesterday evening (January 16), Nasheed said that, despite their political differences, he would not allow President Abdulla Yameen to destroy the JP leader.
“Gasim’s property cannot be looted. Gasim’s character and body cannot be harmed,” he told supporters at the Alimas Carnival ground. “We shall rally in his defense.”
The speech continues a warming of relations between the opposition MDP and Gasim’s JP, which had allied with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) against Nasheed in 2013 to secure the presidency for Yameen.
Following calls from Nasheed to work with the JP in defence of the constitution last week, the party’s Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim expressed gratitude to the MDP leader, also pledging to work in defence of the Constitution.
“The JP parliamentary group has decided to do the necessary to defend the Constitution. Very happy that President Nasheed has decided to travel with us in the same boat,” tweeted Ameen.
Threats against Gasim
During last night’s MDP rally – titled ‘A New Hope for Democracy’ – party leaders accused the government of undermining independent institutions and of threatening Gasim’s business interests as well as his life.
“The elections commissioner was dismissed by influencing the Supreme Court, which abrogated the People’s Majlis powers,” said Nasheed. “The way the auditor general was dismissed, the way the Supreme Court’s bench was reduced.”
In August the JP accused political opponents within the government of being behind death threats received by the party’s leader as well as setbacks suffered by his businesses in the months following the split between the JP and the PPM. Yameen has denied impeding Gasim’s business.
Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin has told Haveeru today that his office was currently reviewing 4-year-old claims that the Gasim-owned Villa Travels had illegally obtained shares of the Maldives Tourism Development Board.
Late last month, pro-government MPs proposed an amendment to the Constitution to bar individuals over the age of 65 from running for the presidency – a move that would end the presidential ambitions of the JP leader, who will be 66-years-old in 2018.
Earlier in December, the MDP passed a resolution calling for Yameen to hand over power to Gasim, suggesting the president’s frequent personal trips abroad amounted to ruling in absentia.
Charges against Nasheed
During a PPM rally to celebrate the launch of phase two of the Hulhumalé project on Thursday night (January 15), PPM Deputy Leader Ahmed Adeeb suggested it was the opposition leader who had abused the constitution.
“Some people think of the constitution as their personal property. After they come into power they would attempt to tear down it down. We have seen them come into power and use the Constitution as their personal weapon, to banish political leaders to Dhoonidhoo, and arrest judges and detain them in Girifushi,” Vnews quoted Adeeb – also minister of tourism – as saying.
Both Gasim, Yameen, and current Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed were arrested during Nasheed’s three years in office – the former two on allegations of bribery in the Majlis, the latter on charges of slander.
Additionally, Nasheed ordered the detention of Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed on Girifushi in January 2012 after repeated attempts to investigate his conduct had failed.
With charges still pending against Nasheed for Judge Abdulla’s detention, the MDP president last night called upon President Yameen to expedite the stalled case.
“I am the bad guy”, he reminded Yameen, suggesting the president had been sending members of the judiciary to him in an attempt to strike a deal over the charges.
“President Yameen, you have estimated me wrong, once again you have estimated me wrong. You of all people should know me,” he said, regarding the alleged offer.
“I am not scared of solitary confinement, chains and shackles. We will not back down even if we had to spend a lifetime in them,” said Nasheed – a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.
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