Adhaalath Party has said it is “very concerned” over the decision made by the President to offer a second chance to more than 400 convicted criminals imprisoned in Maafushi Jail.
‘’Releasing convicted criminals without involving the Parole Board and solely by the decision of the President will disrupt the peace of our society and cause disorder,’’ said the Adhaalath Party in a press statement.
The party said given that the actions of the government in releasing the criminals were “uncivilised” and “undemocratic”, and accused the government of seeking political gain from the release of the convicts.
‘’Offering such an immunity to the criminals, putting aside the rights of society to security is, the Adhaalath Party believes, a violation of rights,’’ the party said.
Most of the criminals to be offered a second chance were imprisoned for theft and robbery, drug abuse and other ‘serious’ criminal offences, the Adhaalath Party alleged.
‘’It is to be noted that while the government is releasing drug addicted criminals, there is no adequate mechanism to rehabilitate drug addicts in this country,’’ the party said, adding that the decision would not end up with a favorable result despite the government’s efforts to provide the former inmates shelter and job opportunities.
If the government wished to release inmates responsibly, the government should decrease its expenditure and spend money to upgrade the prisons, Adhaalath suggested.
‘’All citizens know that illegal drugs are available in the prisons, and that inmates are testing positive to drugs is evidence that they are not being adequately looked after inside the prison,’’ said the party.
Press Secretary for the President, Mohamed Zuhair, recently said the impending release of close to 400 convicts would not result in a spike in crime rates in Male’.
“Our statistics show that there will be nearly 400 convicted criminals that have been granted a second chance,” Zuhair said. “Out of the 119 people released on a previous occasion only two people had to be taken back to prison for committing an offence.”
Zuhair added that the inmates will be released on the condition that they will be returned to prison to complete the rest of their sentences if they commit any sort of offence in the next three years.
Apart from being hired for government jobs, the released inmates will be required to participate in rehabilitation programmes as well as national service programmes over the next two years.