Allow me to introduce myself. I am a member of the Writers’ Bureau of Manchester UK.
Even before the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) was officially recognised by the Maldivian government I was actively involved in trying to promote democracy in the Maldives.
Once we were able to topple the 30 year dictatorship of Abdul Gayoom through the ballot box the MDP was able to rule for three years before we were deposed by the military.
Now I find I am back on top of the persecution list by the government.
About a month back I was pulled in on a drugs charge. At the hearing I told the judge that he cannot ask the police investigative officer to take an oath – with the Holy Quran as witness – as the said police officer had not attended the scene of the crime. He was parroting second hand information supplied by others.
This made the judge so mad he called me into court to begin proceedings of a case dating back almost five years. Apparently five years ago the police had found a small pen-knife with remnants of cannabis. According to a local lawyer, this could get me a 15 year sentence.
I told the judge I was prepared to answer the charges once I was given my legal rights. A Maldivian citizen is entitled to legal counsel by law. I appealed for the state to provide me with a lawyer.
The judge refused. He stated that it was only where high profile cases were concerned that the state provided lawyers. I pointed out that according to the Maldivian constitution that all citizens are equal before the law.
I have a hearing on the 18th of this month and despite what the constitution says, I doubt the state will provide me with a lawyer because at present almost 90 percent of those facing trial are deprived of legal counsel.
I would very much appreciate if Amnesty would do their best to lend me a helping hand in countering the judiciary’s autocratic methods. The judiciary in the Maldives is a remnant from the dictatorship of Abdul Gayoom’s 30 year reign.
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