Former President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has sent a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron appealing for pressure to be placed on President Mohamed Nasheed following “the escalation of attempts to harass and intimidate me and my family.”
Gayoom explained to the British Prime Minister that the strategy deployed by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party during the presidential election campaign – which was actively supported by the Cameron’s party, the UK Conservatives – “was based predominately on attempting to smear my reputation, spreading disinformation, and baselessly accusing me of corruption and misappropriation of State funds.”
“All such allegations of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds and property are basedless and completely untrue, as are those of torture, repression, and unlawful detention during my presidency,” Gayoom wrote.
“Nearly two years after the MDP government assumed presidency, Nasheed and his government have failed to uncover a single shred of evidence to substantiate any of these allegations,” Gayoom added.
The latest episode, he wrote, involved “unsubstantiated allegations by an elderly man by the name of Ahmed Shafeeq that I had, during my tenure as President, ordered the murder of 111 dissidents.”
“In a book authored by this Shafeeq, which was ceremoniously released [on October 10] by Mohamed Nasheed himself, it is accused that I also ordered the man’s arrest and supposed torture in prison. In a country of just over 300,000, it is safe to assume that even one ‘missing person’ would not go unnoticed, let alone 111.”
Gayoom expressed concern to the British PM that Nasheed would attempt to have him arrested “despite my innocence”, and despite praise from election observers at the “smooth handover of power” and assurances of safety and privileges in the Constitution.
Instead, the former President claimed Nasheed’s government had “escalated its attempts to harass me” in the run up to the local council elections, despite his retirement from politics earlier in 2010.
“After the government’s defeat in last year’s parliamentary elections, the popularity ratings of the ruling MDP have fallen further in recent months as a result of the government’s failure to deliver on its campaign promises and its lack of respect for the law.”
“On the other hand,” Gayoom told the British PM, “I continue to enjoy the strong support, love and affection of the people, and have been voted by the public as ‘Personality of the Year’ in both years since stepping down from the presidency.”
Gayoom went on to state that Nasheed had not provided him with adequate security and that “for almost two years now, I have not been able to go to the mosque to perform my prayers on Fridays. My movement remains severely restricted.”
Minivan News attempted to determine the veracity of the (unsigned) letter with Spokesperson for the Former President, Mohamed Hussain ‘Mundhu’ Shareef, but had not received a response at time of press.
However, the UK High Commission in Colombo confirmed that the letter from the Former President was received in London, and a reply issued.
“The UK government follows events in Maldives closely. We believe that effective cross-party dialogue is essential to overcome the key challenges facing Maldives. We have expressed this view to both the government and the opposition,” the High Commission stated.
Press Secretary for President Mohamed Nasheed, Mohamed Zuhair, had not responded at time of press.