The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s (CMAG) has released a statement emphasising its hope that “no action should be taken by any party or authority that would negatively affect the functioning of the Commission of National Inquiry or the ability of individuals to provide testimony to the Commission,” following its teleconference yesterday.
The Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) was established by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan to investigae the events surrounding the controversial transfer of power in February.
The statement follows a week in which the fallout from alternative reports of these events – two from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and one from the original CNI – saw the arrest of the Chief of Police Intelligence Mohamed Hameed for his alleged involvement in the compilation of the MDP report.
The Criminal Court decided to release Hameed this week after extending his initial detention period by five days.
The MDP released a statement alleging that Didi’s questioning was related to the release of her own report which had argued President Waheed should face prosecution for his involvement in the events of February 7.
“The MDP strongly believes this is a cowardly act to intimidate people who are willing to come forward and provide reliable information to the newly composed CoNI,” said the MDP statement.
The police told local media that the timing of the questioning had been planned for the Thursday before but had been rescheduled at Didi’s request.
Former President Nasheed had also suggested to local media that the delays to the CNI’s reform was a sign of the government’s reluctance to do so.
The original deadline for the changes had been May 31, although the MDP and the government failed to agree on the final member of the commission until June 4.
President Office spokesman Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News today that he did not believe the CMAG statement was referring to such incidents.
“The police are independent and have not been conducting any unlawful activities,” said Abbas.
Abbas said that the government welcomed CMAG’s words of encouragement regarding the CNI, adding that it was pleased the Commonwealth had “finally accepted the roadmap talks.”
The talks appeared to have been scuttled following a three day retreat at Bandos, at which parties in the ruling coalition presented the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) with a list of 30 demands to “resolve the problem of public disturbances”.
They included demands that the MDP “stop practicing black magic and sorcery”, “stop the use of sexual and erotic tools”, and “not walk in groups of more than 10”.
CMAG’s statement today said that it “welcomed and encouraged efforts underway to establish a Maldivian-led dialogue process among key political leaders, which could promote high-level discussions on issues of national concern, including those identified in the Political Party Talks agenda.”
The statement outlined the reasons for the formation of the group before expressing its hope that the CNI was now in a position to fulfil its objectives.
“The Commission of National Inquiry was established to undertake an investigation into the circumstances that led to the transfer of power in Maldives on 7 February 2012. This was to enable an independent and impartial investigation to be conducted that would be credible, rigorous and provide confidence to the Maldivian people.”
“The Group noted that the reformed Commission had been formally established on 17 June 2012 and was now operational. It expressed hope that the Commission would be fully able to carry out its work in its own best judgement, and urged all concerned to extend their full co-operation to the Commission.”
The reformed commission includes the three original members – Ismail Shafeeu, Dr Ibrahim Yasir, and Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef – with the addition of retired Singaporean Supreme Court Judge G.P. Selvam and Ahmed ‘Gahaa’ Saeed who was nominated by former President Mohamed Nasheed.
The CNI yesterday announced that anyone wishing to give information to the commission can do so up until June 30. It also welcomed evidence from those who had spoken to the commission before the reforms were enacted.
The commission stated that the evidence and identities of witnesses would be protected.
At a press conference this morning, the CNI told local media that the government would allocate the four Maldivian members “some sort of allowance”, having worked without remuneration up to this date.
The expenses of Selvam, it was revealed, will be borne by the Commonwealth.