MDP launches petition for Nasheed release

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has begun collecting signatures on a petition calling for the release of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The party said the petition will be submitted to President Abdulla Yameen, who is empowered by clemency laws and the constitution to grant pardons.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has set up tables outside its main office on Sosun Magu and in the market area in Male’.

The party also plans to send out teams across the country to collect signatures, and a copy of the petition is available on its website.

Nasheed was found guilty of terrorism last month and sentenced to 13 years in prison. The parliament subsequently voted through an amendment to the Prisons and Parole Act that stripped Nasheed of his leadership position in the MDP.

The amendment said inmates could not fill leadership posts in political parties for the period of their incarceration.

Speaking at a rally on Thursday night, MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed claimed Attorney General Mohamed Anil advised parliament that the amendment was unconstitutional.

The chairman of the committee that was reviewing the legislation – ruling Progressive Party of Maldives MP Ibrahim Riza – kept the attorney general’s letter secret from other MPs, Waheed alleged.