UK Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission has called the Criminal Court’s decision to jail former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges a “blatant and grotesque injustice.”
Condemning the 13 year jail term, Chairman of the commission, MP Fiona Bruce reiterated calls on the international community to consider a drastic range of sanctions against President Abdulla Yameen’s regime.
These include targeted financial sanctions, freezing overseas assets, imposing travel bans, arms embargos, suspension from the Commonwealth and tourism boycotts.
“We need to use every means to put pressure on the Maldivian regime to permit an appeal by Mr Nasheed, release him, drop the charges, begin a political dialogue, and move towards the restoration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law,” she said.
Bruce also expressed concern over the Criminal Court denying Nasheed legal representation, right to appeal and bail. The court had refused to hear evidence from his defence witnesses, she noted.
The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) last week condemned Bruce’s earlier calls for sanctions.
Referring to Bruce calling Nasheed “a champion of non-violent, peaceful democracy,” the PPM claimed the former president had “resorted to violent, unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic methods during his regime from 2008 to 2012, including the unlawful ‘abduction and isolation’ of the Criminal Court Chief Judge in 2012.”
“We are further baffled by her baseless allegation that Nasheed was ‘physically mistreated while in custody,’” the statement read.
“We would like to emphasise that he has been fully accorded his rights in line with the constitution and the laws of the Maldives.
The statement added that Nasheed had succeeded former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – the PPM’s leader – “who had ushered in modern liberal democracy in the Maldives, in addition to transforming the country from one of the poorest five countries in the world to a flourishing economy with the highest per capita income in the whole of South Asia.”