Former president denies human rights abuses in 30-year rule

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has denied that human rights abuses and torture in prisons occurred during his 30-year reign.

Taking questions from listeners yesterday on DhiFM’s “One-to-One” live call-in show, Gayoom categorically denied that he ordered anyone to be tortured.

“No Maldivian citizen was unjustly punished that I was aware of or on my orders,” he said.

He added he was not aware of torture in jails or custodial deaths and it would not have taken place on his orders.

“When I received complaints, I looked into it. I did get complaints of torture in jails or unjust punishment in other ways. Every case would have been investigated,” he said.

In some cases, commissions were formed to investigate the allegations, he continued, while other cases were sent to court.

Responding to a question on whether he could prove his 30-year rule was not autocratic, Gayoom said he always governed in full compliance with the constitution and was re-elected in free and fair elections.

“I did not come to power or remain in power by using military force,” he said.

Appearing on the same show last week, President Mohamed Nasheed, a former Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience”, said he recently found a letter to the former president, also minister of defence at the time, from the officer-in-charge of police.

“It says in a lot of cases many citizens were taken before court without any evidence in the way the government wanted,” he said.

At the time, said Nasheed, such things were commonplace.

Asked about the letter, Gayoom said he could not recall a particular letter as he would have received thousands during the past 30 years.

“I might remember if it happened or not if that letter is shown to me and how I acted upon it or if I didn’t,” he said, adding he could not recall it off the top of his head.

If Nasheed showed him the letter, he continued, he would explain how it happened.

Although the pair has not met since the hand-over of power last year, Gayoom said he has had telephone conversations with the president and exchanged text messages.

Fielding questions

After thanking him for “getting rid of drugs in four months”, a caller asked Gayoom about a man from Fuahmulah who was “brought to Male’ on an allegation, punished and killed in Dhoonidhoo” in 1982.

Another caller asked, “Do you know that an island called Mandhoo exists?”

Gayoom addressed a number of issues ranging from tsunami reconstruction, his future in politics and the state of the nation.

The former president said he has not made a decision on remaining as leader of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party or contesting for the presidency in 2013.

“I am still thinking about it. God willing, the people will know my decision very soon,” he said.

Defending his record on island development, Gayoom said there was only one government school in the atolls when he took office in 1978, but there were schools now in all inhabited islands.

Moreover, he built island offices, atoll offices and atoll houses as well as mosques, health centres and harbours.

Infant mortality was reduced from 120 from every 1,000 births to 10, he said, while life expectancy rose from 48 to over 70 years.

International institutions and agencies have noted that of all the Asian countries affected by the tsunami, he said, Maldives made the best use of foreign aid.

Gayoom said about US$80 million pledged by the institutions and foreign nations was not delivered.


19 thoughts on “Former president denies human rights abuses in 30-year rule”

  1. Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom (MAG) is loosing it. It is a shame that no media is seriously looking into the allegation made by the President last week. MAG has done so much damage to this country and he owes to our people. Maldives need an explanation from him. He must apologise and people must wakeup. The Government, when it reaches stability, must reveal all the mess!

  2. He must be the most Arrogant bastard ever in human history. His reason for not going for friday prayers is that too many people would come to shake his hand or most probably to shake his **** . I have decided that all these people who are still backing this worm have no sense at all. Sadly half the population is suffering from this dilemma.

  3. Surprised that this article does not refer to the fact that Gayoom admitted to not observing an important religious tenet- Friday prayers.

    He shamelessly said he did not go to the mosque anymore because people would come and shake his hands and people might accuse him of politicizing religion.

    And then the man has the audacity to accuse the government of not doing enough to defend Islam in this country.

    I think Gayoom should first get off his high horse, and learn to mingle with people and perform his religious obligations.

    Go to Friday prayers Mr. Gayoom! The people won't bite. Practice what you preach.

  4. President Gayoom was in power for 30 years. 45% of the nation still has incredible respect, admiration, and possibly even love for the man. We have been taught to adore him since we were children. I wonder if we will ever find any proof that he had knowledge of torture or signed off on it.

    My family has been tortured. Some with lasting repercussions of it. There is no question of it having happened. But remember how it was always President Gayoom's cabinet which was responsible for what was going wrong? I mean, that's why he replaced them so frequently. The same way, I'm sure there are other's in his administration "responsible" for the torture.

    I have no love for the man. But I have no hate for him either. I've shook his hand (as I'm sure many of us have) and and am proud to not hold a grudge. It's not a way to live. If it was me who had lasting damage, I don't know if I could hold this view. Though I would like to believe it.

    We need to focus on moving forward without hate. A truth and reconciliation effort which is sincere and not merely a witch-hunt is necessary. And good luck to whomever heads it.

  5. Mr Salim Waheeh i would agree on you. you are totaly right we should move forward without hate.after all we all are maldivian

  6. DRP started it, it not gonna look pretty. I request President Nasheed to step up and restore order in the country.

  7. does this Maumoon guy realize it's compulsory to go to Friday payers, if not he's on a major sin,.. there's no way he can justify that in Islam, my question is if so a guy who's not afraid of Allah swa and his punishment will he be any good to his people ?

  8. I really cannot understand why people are talking to this worm. In so many occasions it is proved that if he opens his mouth he will shamelessly lie. He is a contingent liar that the whole humane race must neglect him. Look his comments on going to Friday prayer?

    The whole Maldives will still remember his answer on BBC interweave to Adam Mynott. When Mr. Mynott repeatedly said he talked to many people in Male’ and they have all mentioned about the fear living in Male’ under his brutal regime. And he said that’s not true; so this is still the same GOLHABO and he will never ever say any truth.

  9. There is nothing called truth in Maumoon's vocabulary.Therfore no none should be surprised if he comes out with lie after lie.This is simply true.I am sure the Maldivian National Defence Force to whom the proection of the former presidents is assigned by law is and will be capable of protecting Maumoon from those who want to shake hands with Maumoon if he attends Friday Prayer.If Maumoon so desires and wishes the government I am sure will build an exclusive mosque for him to attend Friday Prayers with no one else but the Imam present.

  10. I'm not surprised. Once a lying hypocrite, always a lying hypocrite. If you were looking for truth, this wasn't the show to watch. However, if you find amusement and entertainment in watching a heartless compulsive liar, then this could be at the top of the list

  11. His dirty plan perhaps, is to pull everyone of his ex-government along with his down fall!

    DRP, be aware! This guy has got Cleo's mind!

  12. Gayoom was fully aware of torture and human rights abuses going on during his rule.

  13. This is totally outrageous. Why is anyone even listening to this man?
    Have we forgotten what happened to Evan Naseem? There are records of Gayyoom being fully aware of torture practice leading up the murders of several inmates.
    It is quite unreal for us to even have this debate today.
    Maldivians believed that Gayyoom was a torturer and a brutal dictator, that is why they voted him out in the first ever democratic poll.
    Check this out

    I think that's plenty evidence of torture under his dictatorship.

    Then again, he is sufferring from dementia, so he won't remember a thing!

  14. He still have it thick in there. This tells how dangerous he will be if elected again. He thinks that everything that happened in Maldives during his 3o years of power was his "hidhumaiy" as if he owned everything and everyone in the country. He does not realise societies will build their own schools (whatever they can) despite state's complete ignorance. He doesn't recongnise that Maldivians did anything to better themselves and sees all the hard work of the citizens as his efforts. He does not realise building mosques, island offices and warfs that are dedictated to official visits and trips had no impact on improving the lives of ordinary people. He still thinks Maldivians are mindless wanderers who only knows what to do when he tells us what to do. We can think for ourselves now. Give us numbers, tell us how much money was spent on islands? Tell us of projects that were run or even discussed that was designed to help islanders make ends meet in their own islands - not to mention arbitrary rules in place to segregate and disadvantage islanders over Maleans.

  15. In my opinion most of the people are taking the wrong meaning from what Maumoon said about him not going to Friday prayer..He could not have meant it like..'he is afraid of people coming to shake hands with him (which shows people are still with him) or biting him as Ibrahim put it'. What he said was he did not want people to think he is taking political advantage from that..
    And, hell yeah!..Anni showed up to the first Friday prayer after he got elected as the president..but rarely after that!..Therez got to be an explanation for that too!


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