The People’s Majlis has narrowly voted to review a series of Penal Code amendments proposed by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) including the removal of the Penal Code’s Article 81.
Former President Nasheed is currently being charged under Article 81 for the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed – an incident that precipitated Nasheed’s ouster in February 2012.
“It shall be an offense for any public servant by reason of the authority of office he is in to detain or arrest in a manner contrary to law. Person guilty of this offense shall be subjected to exile or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding MVR 2,000,” reads the article.
MDP MP Imthiyaz ‘Inthi’ Fahmy’s proposal passed with 27 members voting for and 26 members voting against the proposal. The proposal will be reviewed by a parliamentary committee before it is sent to the Majlis floor for a final vote.
Other amendments also include the removal of Penal Code’s Article 75 and 87.
Article 75 concerns the making of false charges: “Whoever institutes a claim against another person with the intent to cause inconvenience, loss or injury to that person without lawful grounds shall be subjected to a fine not exceeding MVR 2000.”
Article 87 of the code relates to the failure to assist public servant in his duties, with offenders subject to exile, six months imprisonment, or a MVR500 fine.
The current penal code was written in 1968. Work on a new penal code started in 2008, but it is still at committee stage.