Comment: Gayoom and Nasir unlikely to face their Mubarak moment

A large screen set up outside the court premises streamed images of historic trial from within, while a banner under it proclaimed ‘O Judge of Judges, you have nothing to fear but God!’

Inside the building which once bore his name, former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from graft to “intentional killing of demonstrators” during the January 25 uprising that toppled his regime.

Lying on a stretcher, inside a specially built cage within the same building where, less than two days before the revolution started he had addressed his security forces whose support he enjoyed during nearly three decades of absolute power – he pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Recordings of his not-guilty plea in Arabic – “I categorically deny all charges” – have reportedly become popular ring tones, and images of the once powerful dictator inside a metal cage are being circulated widely on Internet groups.

Mubarak’s trial marks the first time in recent memory that the leader of an Arab nation – long accustomed to ruling until they die or are assassinated – has been made answerable to his own people for alleged abuse of power.

Over 850 people died in the 18 days of uprising early this year, before he stepped down.

In fact, the presiding Judge asked a lawyer at one point “Could you write down the (victims) names, or will it take hours?”

Even as Mubarak fights charges that carries a possible death sentence if convicted, many would agree that even in the scenario of his being acquitted, the dictator’s fall from grace is complete, and that this trial ultimately only provides catharsis and a warning to his embattled peers elsewhere in the middle east.

Images of his trial may aggravate the situation in Saleh’s Yemen, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria, where authoritarian despots are clinging to power hoping to last through the unabated turbulence of the Arab spring.

It is quite possible that these dictators would blame Mubarak’s current predicament on his softness, and relatively quick exit from power – a mere 18 days after crowds assembled in Tahrir Square. With the stakes now even higher, these regimes might resort to a violent fight to the finish, unless they can be coerced into catching a flight to Jeddah.

At least 1700 civilians are believed to have been killed in Syria since uprisings began, and estimates range between 2000 to 12000 killed in Libya, with no signs of the an end to the rebellion.

While the Mubarak trial holds special symbolic meaning for the Arab people, it also holds some significance in the Maldivian context.

It was, after all, from the halls of Egypt’s Al Azhar University that former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom emerged.

When democracy arrived in the Maldives after a prolonged period of public protests, many expected Gayoom to be prosecuted – and his political cronies to be put on trial.

Throughout the democratic uprising, after all, opposition leaders had publicly accused President Gayoom of a wide spectrum of allegations ranging from corruption to torture.

However, Gayoom continues to be a free man, and no charges have yet been brought against him by the first democratically elected government.

It might be that despite the alleged excesses of his former government, Gayoom continues to hold a massive sway over a significant portion of the population, as evidenced by the 40 percent of votes he garnered in the first round of the Presidential polls.

President Mohamed Nasheed has stuck to his stated stand of ‘humility in times of victory’, and while there still remain occasional calls for Gayoom’s arrest from parliamentarians like “Reeko” Moosa, the public attention has long since shifted to more immediate matters of a weakening economy and dollar shortages.

Gayoom’s predecessor, President Ibrahim Nasir had also modeled himself after Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, a modernist with dictatorial tendencies.

After he became the First President of the Second Republic, Nasir was the hero of the Nation’s independence.

However, during his earlier stint as Prime Minister, Nasir’s heavy-handed tactics such as personally leading gunboats to forcefully depopulate Thinadhoo in 1962, in the aftermath of the southern rebellion, has been condemned by many as being especially ruthless.

Nasir never stood trial in a public court. Following Gayoom’s ascent to power, Nasir lived out the rest of his life in exile in Singapore.

Nasir died a few days after the Gayoom regime fell, and was buried with his royal ancestors at the cemetery attached to the hukuru miskiy. Tens of thousands paid him their last respects, and a national holiday was declared in his honour.

He has recently been honoured again by the MDP government, which renamed the Male’ International Airport as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in recognition of his efforts towards building it.

The news of the airport renaming was met with some disappointment by many Huvadhu islanders, some of whom still remember Nasir as the man who tore their families apart. Sounds of gunfire are still fresh in their memories.

Humiliating scenes of men being forced to step off their islands, supervised by the political strongman himself, continue to persist on the Internet.

It is increasingly likely that the alleged crimes and corruption of Gayoom and Nasir will never face their Mubarak moment. Furthermore, the government has so far given no indication of making a even a symbolic public apology for the southern outrage that was Thinadhoo.

While Mubarak’s trial assuages some of Egypt’s hurt and brings hope to rebels in the Middle East, it reopens some old wounds for many Maldivians, who feel justice has been denied to them.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]

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36 thoughts on “Comment: Gayoom and Nasir unlikely to face their Mubarak moment”

  1. All Western-engineered revolts and regime changes ring notoriously hollow for the populations they manipulate.

    The underlying tensions and dissatisfaction that the Western-backed revolutionary leaders seize upon are often cast into the wind once regime-change is complete and Western interests are secured.

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  2. Because ours wasn't a genuine peoples movement. The people in power back then are still in power today.

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  3. @tsk tsk
    I agree with you for the first time.
    But I also think Adaalath style regimes or parties are mere puppets of Saudi family ideology who secretly keeps on leg in the secularist/Atheist!! Salaf Jamiyya is one typical arrogant and self proclaimed scholars, while Islamic Foundation's source is unknown and funding is quite deep and has unknown motive. some say's its funded by atheist in the Maldivian soceity to show the weakness of Islam!! We have no hope as of today..lets wait and see.

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  4. @leena
    I agree. Ours was secretly lead by greedy resort owners like (Gasim, Champa, Universal, loly Jabir, Gadho Zahir..etc), They all are now claiming their share like animals!! So how can we have a peaceful, just and democratic society?? Democracy my foot! the rest of the richmen wants their son or daughter to be given an 'important' post in state or an island for resort to enter into the greedy cycle!!

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  5. Please get your facts right. Nasir was tried in absentia and sentenced to 25 years by a kangaroo court. His assets and his children's assets were seized without lawful authority by the Maldives government and this matter is currently before the Supreme Court.

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  6. Anni should get a trial for his corruption. As far as we all know, hes more corrupt than Maumoon or Nasir. The current global index ranking of Maldives in Transparency International itself proves this.

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  7. Maybe we do not want such a trial. Our Pharoah is such a divisive figure, that a trial would cause more harm than good.

    He was in power for so long and exercised such influence that any trial which is not a complete farce will drag most of the senior long serving govt officials. The fact that many of our judges may possibly be culpable in his crimes is another conundrum entirely.

    What is needed today is an acknowledgement of the crimes. Both Gayoom's Nasir's crimes need to be acknowledged. Gayoom like Nasir before him understood, must understand that no good can come from him still dabbling around in politics.

    However much his supporters worship him, we know who he was and we do not need an investigation to know what happened, we all lived through it.

    It is an insult to our intelligence when he feigns being persecuted, everyone knows, all he he needs to do is go home and retire with the little dignity he has left and everyone would move on.

    He somehow hasn't got that memo.

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  8. If there should be a nasir and maumoon trial, then there should be a trial for nasheed as well. I ask you, which leader in the world would ever dare to commit such a crime like locking the supreme court??

    (Note this comment would probably be not updated because minivan news is run by anni's brother).

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  9. @ Wine,
    Nasir tried in absentia and sentenced by the kangaroo court for the folllowing,
    1- Transferring USD 2,230,079.13 from Government US dollar account at Habib Bank (Muleeaage 41 No account) to Nasir’s account at Bank of America, 41 Broker Street, New York (ac no 948 94992)
    2- Taking an overdraft of 89,220.32 using the same account and transferring that to the above mentioned Nasir’s account in Bank of America(Bank of America confirmed in writing that Government of Maldives had not opened account at the bank) Bank charge of USD 728.11 for this overdraft was paid to Habib Bank by Maldivian government
    3- Transferring USD 250,000.00 from Government US dollar account at Habib Bank( Muleeaage account no 18) to Nasir’s own US dollar account at Habib Bank London branch. (ac no 400601) Transaction made on 23 april 1978.
    4- Transferring RF 6945.15 from an internal account at STO accounts divisions (account no 224) to Nasir’s account at HBL Male’. Transaction made on 21 March 1978.
    5- Transfering a total of RF 1, 1368,780.32 from the same STO account to Nasir’s own account at SBI Male’. Transactions were made between 28 March 1978 to 27 Aug 1978.
    6- Tranferring RF 6,606,175.22 from STO accounts division (account no 235) to Nasir’s account at HBL. Trasactions were made between 7 feb 1978 to 1 oct 1978.
    7- Tranfering RF 2,361,484.73 from the above mentioned STO account to Nasir’s account at SBI. Transactions were made between 22 may 1978 to 26 oct 1978.
    8- Borrowing RF 800,000 from STO accounts division, collecting the money by sending then Muleeaage secretary Moosa Mohamed Fulhu and transferring that amount to Nasir’s account at SBI.( known as hakuraage no 3 account) The money was later withdrawn from this account by Nasir.
    9- Selling the properties of the government that was in his possession after Nasir’s term expired in 11 Nov 1978. The properties were sold in auction for a total of RF 44675.00
    10- Giving RF 100,699.53 from STO accounts division no 235 account to Ahmed Naseem of H.Hikifinifenmaage. (The money was given by a cheque signed by Nasir)

    Kangaroo Courts Verdict
    Payback USD 2,570,088. 56 and RF 10,308,730.75 (after deducting RF 800,000 paid back by Nasir) within 6 months.
    If failed to payback, to confiscate Nasir’s properties, money at Banks and MMA after valuation.
    1 year banishment under 133 of penal code
    Additional 24 years of banishment under 16 an 132 of penal code, that means a total of 25 years banishment.

    Source: Article on Haveeru News , Tue , 4 feb 1986,

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  10. Let the old Gay Yoom live and suffer, his supporters also know that he is a corrupted to extremes. Let us deprive him of what he really wishes!

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  11. 'By contrast, every revolution that has ever led to a happy democratic outcome has avoided the spectacle of retribution.'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/03/hosni-mubarak-louis-revolution

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  12. True, retribution is pointless as usually the majority of the population is complicit in placing unconditional faith in leadership without making changes to the structure of government.

    We reap what we sow. However it must be noted that the Maldivian people have come a long way by partially democratizing the legal framework of the country.

    What we need now is to institutionalize and mainstream democratic concepts into our culture and consciousness.

    Although we have the UK to thank, if we wish to do so, for getting rid of Maumoon, it is high time we take charge of our own destiny. Of course, I am not suggesting that we can exist without bending to the pressures existed by the powerful. However, if we wish to remain a sovereign people and gain maximum profit from ventures started on our islands then we need better management at the top.

    It is not that Anni & Co. are evil. Far from it. They are just too inexperienced and their lack of management capabilities have forced them to dance to the whims and fancies of the Indian, US and UK governments.

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  13. @ibu on Sat, 6th Aug 2011 5:49 PM

    Did you just compare crimes like the murder of dozens of people with the "locking of supreme court"???

    Not to worry, "anni's brother's", moderators will publish all your comments, especially if it makes you appear like as ass.

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  14. Anni doesn't lock anyone in jail.

    But we are locked in our home because the criminals are out at large. That's the difference. We are prisoners in our homes.

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  15. I have nightmares of dictator Nasri
    and dictator maumoon, i see dead people, any way this the finest article I've ever read

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  16. Mubarak was overthrown by the military. He did not give up his post voluntarily. The current trial is orchestrated by the Egyptian military so that they can get public support and continue their rule.So, it is not Mubarak on trial but the Egyptian military Government who is really being tried!

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  17. If only Maldivains know what 'kleptocracy' mean they would know why no ex-Maldives leader can be ever brought to justice.

    Maldives is such a tiny place and that makers quite convenient for rulers (be it Nasir, Maumoon) to carry out any illegal activity in concert with other organs of the state. If President Nasheed wants to be corrupt (and that is a big if) In the present circumstance with separation of powers, all he needs to do would be to bring the other 2 powers on board. So he will never be prosecuted.

    Call Maldives a democracy but there will never be justice because Maldives is a natural kleptocracy

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  18. I know an old man who lost 3 of his children in that uprising. Had they lived they would have been in their fourties now. The old man is called Alibeyya and he is from Thinadhoo. At that time he lived in Addu as a carpenter and he was prevented from coming to Thinadhoo or send money to his family by various means. (Addu had autonomous immigration and customs institutions which Male' govt did not recognize..) His young family was also forced to evacauate Thinadhoo and the kids starved to death. Although Alibeyya has nothing to say about politics he never forgave his young wife for the death of his 3 sons. He thinks it all her fault that she lived and their 3 children (toddlers) died. He never returned to Thinadhoo and lived all his life in Addu.

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  19. Very soon we will be adding a new name to the list. That is, the name of our current president dictator Nasheed

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  20. President Nasir has passed away. Cant Minivan new get over it let the man rest in peace! Instead of repeatedly taking up his name and bad mouthing him.

    He is our national hero and and thing bad you say about him is the same as saying it the people of Maldives.

    He did what was needed and what any leader in any country would do when foreign powers (UK) tried to divide and slip this nation.

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  21. @ Razee
    I guess you have to ask President Nasheed for that.

    We will make sure that our generations to come know who Nasir is. Nasheed can't change history. Every time our grand children hear "Ibrahim Nasir International Airport", they will badmouth him.

    So its not minivan badmouthing Nasir or Maldivians.

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  22. Very true @Razee!

    There is living testimony to over rule what is said by the writer with regards to the reality of what happened in the so called depopulation of Thinadhoo!

    " However, during his earlier stint as Prime Minister, Nasir’s heavy-handed tactics such as personally leading gunboats to forcefully depopulate Thinadhoo in 1962, in the aftermath of the southern rebellion, has been condemned by many as being especially ruthless. "

    This is very untrue, uninformed and shameful journalism Yameen Rasheed!

    If you would like to know what was ruthlessly done, you could ask the elders of Gadhdhoo what the pious people of Thinadhoo did to them before condemning a leader of a nation!

    Late President Nasir could have done many things and in many ways. But he wasn't a fool, a coward nor a liar!

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  23. Making Nasir an innocent man is really taking it too far. He was a brutal dictator and I suppose most people who post here never saw him or have experienced his brutal regime.
    To tell you the truth, his regime was far more brutal than Gayoom's. The torture and the deaths that went on in Male' Jail.( yes there was a Jail in Male also at that time) and later on at Villiginli was more brutal.
    Families were wiped out in Male jail and people were beaten to death in Villingili jail.
    There were prisoners who had to wade deep into water with fish bait around their necks while Sharks and Barrucuda circled around.
    I knew a school boy who was jailed because the "Sifain" thought he broke a rope while walking past a road construction site.( I know it is hard to believe this now but is true). Another boy because he had a used condom given to him by his elder brother.
    Even the current Spokesman Zuhair was jailed because they thought he dropped a piece of potassium into the school well.
    How many innocent lives were destroyed by Nasir? Lots. He was as bad as Gayoom and sure he got independence from the British and for that we should respect it.
    But he was a brutal dictator no less and to name Male' International Airport after his is a huge insult to all The Maldivians who worked so hard to built the initial airport. We also have to understand the main reason why Nasir built the airport was also to help his tourism business as he owned most of the resorts in Maldives then.

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  24. "Late President Nasir could have done many things and in many ways."

    He was a brutal dictator, a thug, a thief and a murderer! Thanks to @MA for detailing the money that Nasir pocketed from the Government of Maldives, i.e. our money!

    I really don't get all this Nasir worshipping. For God's sake, what sacrifices did he make to get independence from the British? A couple of chats and some tea? The British weren't that interested in holding onto a tiny spec of sand in the middle of the Indian Ocean which was of no significant use at the time.

    Nasir cannot rest in his grave, since there are so many people that never got justic for what he did. Nasir was tried in absentia for stealing state funds. He needs to be tried for the murders too.

    Gayyoom was never in the same league as Nasir. Nasir was far more brutal and heartless. Gayyoom allowed his allies to dip their fingers into the state coffers and turned a blind eye most of the time. There are those who suffered and died in jails under his regime too. Unlike Nasir, there's no direct link to Gayyoom and it's going to be far more difficult to prove them.

    What's clear is that we cannot just bury our heads in the sand and carry on as if the past never happened. History teaches us that if we do not confront the past, we will face the same trouble at some point in the future. I am not calling for a witch hunt against Gayyoom; the least we can do is something along the lines of what the South Africans did, post apartheid.

    Lastly, President Nasheed is showing his ruthlessness by making such a hero out of Nasir and refusing to apologise to the people that suffered under the thug. In my book that alone makes Nasheed a far worse character than Gayyoom!

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  25. "Mubarak’s trial marks the first time in recent memory that the leader of an Arab nation – long accustomed to ruling until they die or are assassinated."

    Oh well, if Maumoon doesn't get a trial, there's always that other option.

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  26. Glorifying Nasir negates what the President and MDP purport to stand for. They can't vilify Gayoom and glorify Nasir at the same time.

    I'm disappointed that the MDP feels it needs to join the Zoo DRPiers in this race to the bottom.

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  27. The fact is neither Qayyoom, Nasir nor that has-been Nasheed is important for us now.

    We need to take the reigns of our country and appoint a better executive. One who can actually steer us onto a better course.

    Norah Jones said it best when she described leaders like Nasheed in situations like ours;
    "in a boat that's built of sticks and hay, we drifted from the shore, with a captain who's to proud to say, that he dropped the oar".

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  28. I remember Nasir very well.He came to power as Prime Minister out of the blue. He was an unknown quantity at that time in his own country. He overthrew Ibrahim Ali Didi whose daughter was Nasir's first wife.From the time of his overthrow until his death, Ibrahim Ali Didi kept a low profile and stayed out of Male as much as possible.

    Nasir's uncle, Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, was banished to Colombo and not allowed to return to Male even when he was very old.That was no good.

    Many of my relatives in Male were arrested and punished for no reason at all. Something similar to Soviet system under Stalin prevailed in the Maldives under Nasir.

    Even loyal officials in Nasir's government were spied on.

    Nasir put notices in government newspapers like 'viyafaari' warning people not to criticise him.

    People like Ahmed Zaki, Mohamed Zaki, Farouk, Koli Hasan Maniku were arrested without due process.

    The arrest and banishment of Prime Minister Ahmed Zaki was totally illegal.

    The methods Nasir used against the rebels in the south were inhuman and barbarous.

    He arrested and banished his neighbours Ameena and her husband,Abdul Majeed Mahir. Husband and wife were banished to separate islands which was cruel.

    Chief Justice Jameel was set aside when he disagreed. So there was no independent judiciary.

    In terms of formal education, Nasir was extremely limited and for that reason he had an inferiority complex.

    It was dangerous for me to return while Nasir was in power.

    Parliament and the Atoll administrations were his puppets and toys.

    The British would have given independence to Maldives anyway. Maldives did not need Nasir for that. Somebody else could have done that just as well.

    All the elections held by Nasir were like Stalin's elections. People who counted the votes decided the results rather than the people who actually voted.

    Even though Mubarak is the first Egyptian ruler ever to be put on trial, all the previous rulers were also dictators.

    Demands for democracy in Maldives started in the Maldives under Gayoom as president because the time was ripe for it and the Maldivian society had become more sophisticated, educated and rich than the Maldivian society ever was under Nasir.

    If I had to choose between Nasir and Gayoom, I would choose Gayoom.

    Thank you

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  29. Poorly researched and written, especially about Nasir. @mikaloa-o has highlighted the truth. The state funds taken by Nasir stated by @MA was eventually proven to be false. The atrocities that took place in jail are said to be largely true.
    About Gayyoom I say, " vayah, javvah, fazaayah",

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  30. @Mohamed Rasheed,

    Maybe you and Ahmed Nasir can prove it in court that it is not true,

    What I remember is that it was proven with enough documents,

    "When was it eventually proven to be false?"

    Is it true that Nasir had more than 50 lands in this small Male'. 32 of them belonging to his business known as "crescent". Is he GOD? Is it true his crony karankaa rasheed had 27 plots of land when Nasir left Maldives. Is it true that Nasir's crony Hanaan had land more than "20000" sq feet. The one behind UN building(seagull & godowns now)It is true that Koli clan had more than 60 land in Male' when Nasir left.

    And all that under an excellent plan of Nasir, most of the land sold for 1 rf per sq feet. Because he is compassionate for the poor citizens? Is it true that he had major share in all resorts?

    Please check your facts. Nasir is no saint. Was a greedy, ruthless dictator.

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  31. One of the things Maldivain accept blindly (like Rannamaari story) is that independence from Britain was 'sought'. In effect, the British never controlled the Maldives much and always helped us. Even after the so called 'independence' they stayed in Gan form many years.

    Its time to get the British version of the story too, to know the truth

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  32. Yes.. it would be difficult to bring Maldivian dictators to justice. The whole judiciary's lawyers, judges earned their degrees with the kind help of those dictators. Its impossible in Maldives to take Gayyoom & Nasir to trail.

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  33. sure, we're also waiting for the "mubarak" moment for people like Zaki, porn-star Adil, Jesus Afeef, Reeko Moosa, official Government perverts who jerked off to angelic sharron recently, and last but not the least, the leader who brought us hypocracy Anni...

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