Maldives to resettle two Gitmo inmates

Two inmates of the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention camp that houses terror suspects will be transferred to the Maldives for resettlement, President Mohamed Nasheed has announced.

Addressing growing opposition to the move in his weekly radio address, President Nasheed said the resettlement of the two former prisoners would not “change anything or cause any loss to the country.”

“On the contrary, it will be good for the country,” he said. “[The country] will get a good name, honour and prestige. We will be noted as people who help in whatever capacity we can to help solve others’ problems.”

He added that not helping when the opportunity presented itself was, in his view, was not in keeping with either the constitution, Islam or the Maldivian national character.

“There are more than 150,000 expatriates living in our country. We are benefiting from their work. There is no danger in two more people coming to the Maldives,” he said, stressing that the government would not violate any laws in the process of transferring the inmates.

The religiously conservative Adhaalath Party yesterday clarified its position on the matter, noting on its new English-language website that “if the two men in question are Muslims who have been detained unjustly, providing assistance to them from a Muslim country is not a problem on Islamic grounds.”

However, “if they are terrorists who have committed crimes against humanity, then it is not wise to give them sanctuary in Maldives,” the party said, expressing concern about the government’s “ambiguity” on the subject.

Nasheed meanwhile urged the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) not to make the issue a politically divisive one, calling on opposition parties to take up complaints with the government.

“We will clear up what the DRP wants to know,” he offered.

The president thanked the leader and deputy leader of the DRP as it was the opposition party’s responsibility to hold the government accountable and offered to hold discussions on the subject.

On Tuesday, DRP MP Ali Waheed filed a motion without notice at the parliamentary national security committee to investigate the government’s decision.

“While we don’t even have a proper jail and the society is drowning in gang violence and crime, the Maldivian government has reached the point where they are forming agreements with another country and creating a legal framework to bring in people from the jail that has the world’s most dangerous terrorists and citizens aren’t aware of what’s happening. The People’s Majlis elected by the Maldivian people aren’t aware of it,” Ali Waheed told press on Tuesday.

Not confidential

Nasheed further said the issue has not been kept confidential by the government.

The president referred to his radio address on December 11 when he signaled that Gitmo prisoners cleared off terrorism charges could be transferred to the Maldives.

“If a Muslim does not have a place to live in freedom, we will help in whatever way we can. We don’t want anyone to suffer any harm,” Nasheed had said. “We know that the Maldives, in helping just three people from Guantanamo Bay, does not mean that either the Maldives or the world would be free of inhumane treatment,” he said. “However this jail, Guantanamo jail, is very symbolic.”

He said most of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay were innocent people caught up in the war in Afghanistan, and that offering assistance to other nations in whatever capacity was “a national duty.”

On Friday, the president said it was “very clear” to the government that the Muslims detained in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba were not terrorists.

A Maldivian citizen kept in Gitmo was released by the government, said Nasheed, and Maldives police have concluded that he was not a terrorist.

Meanwhile, Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed wrote on his blog last week that official correspondence showed the government was in the final stages of “resettling” prisoners.

The former legal reform minister wrote that diplomatic correspondence has been exchanged between the Maldivian government and the American Embassy in Colombo to agree upon guidelines for the release and monitoring of the former terror suspects.

He noted that following initial discussions between the two governments, the American embassy sent a three-page diplomatic notice to the Maldives Foreign Ministry in February.

According to the diplomatic note, once the Maldivian government presents written confirmation, it will be agreed that the government shall:

  1. Agree to resettle Gitmo prisoners escorted to the country by the US military
  2. Determine a date and time for arrival after discussions between the relevant officials
  3. If the Maldivian government wishes to relocate or transfer the prisoners to another country, it will be done only after discussions with the US government.
  4. Maintain correspondence on the process of resettlement.
  5. Conduct surveillance on the prisoners while they are in the country, including monitoring their phone calls, letters and other communications.
  6. Prevent them from leaving the country.
  7. Regularly meet them and see how they are settling.

On March 28, writes Nasheed, the foreign ministry asked for legal advice from the attorney general on instituting a legal mechanism for the transfer.

Nasheed also noted possible legal complications concerning the issuance of visas as the immigration laws specify that people ‘considered to’ belong to a terrorist organization or ‘believed to’ pose a danger to national security shall not be given visas.

While the parliamentary committee has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, Nasheed wrote that ministers would likely be summoned for questioning.

“If our beloved human rights-loving president so wishes, it would be much better for the country if he could implement even one recommendation of the Human Rights Commission,” he added.

DQP anger

Imad Solih, vice-president of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), had meanwhile announced the party’s intention to take the matter to court at last week’s “Red Notice” protest.

A statement on the party’s website claims that the President was not empowered to transfer “convicts such as those in Guantanamo by either the constitution or any law or regulation in the Maldives.”

“There is no reason that a small country like the Maldives with limited resources should accept such convicts when a country like America won’t accept them,” it continues.

“While any sense of security of person and property has been lost and people are being knifed in front of police officers, there is no doubt that bringing such serious criminals to the Maldives is only going to make expatriates working in the country as well as visiting tourists more unsettled.”

It adds that President Nasheed’s decision was going to turn the country “from a tourist paradise into a terrorist paradise.”

Moreover, the decision was motivated by the president’s “greed for a prize” as the government was “not making any effort” to repatriate the many Maldivians in foreign jails.

In addition to filing a case at court, the party will be submitting a bill to the next session of parliament on prohibiting the transfer of foreign convicts to the Maldives.

DQP will also communicate with the US State Department and the American embassy to “prevent this from happening”, the party said.

“The president was elected by the Maldivian people to fulfill duties specified in the constitution and the laws of the country,” it concludes, “Under no circumstances does the president have the power to violate the law to further his self-interest.”


21 thoughts on “Maldives to resettle two Gitmo inmates”

  1. One might wonder what Maldives have to gain by accepting these men when their home nations would not take them. It looks like the decision makers in Maldives havent thought of the possible 2nd and 3rd order effects of this decision. But then again almost all decisions in the Maldives are reactionary and made on a whim, so perhaps one shouldnt be too surprised.

  2. When other countries are helping us to solve our problems by giving interest free loans and other free aids,why shouldn't we help them any way possible. I can't find any problem in it. When DQP condemn president't decision and claimed that "the president was elected by the Maldivian people to fulfill duties specified in the constitution and the laws of the country,” it concludes, “Under no circumstances does the president have the power to violate the law to further his self-interest.” I wonder should he needs to go countries and bag before them to get a fund for our development. Does anyone ever seen a clues in our constitution saying "its a president's responsibility to bag behind foreign countries to get a aids for the betterment of the maldivian peaple.

  3. I applause Dr Shaheed for revealing the true colours of MDP as partners in crime with the torturers of Gitmo prisoners. Now that torturing is done the prisoners are bing passed over to the MDP government to continue the violation of their human rights - preventing them from leaving the country and monitoring their phone calls, letters and other communications. I thought this phase of Maldives history was over with the change in government.

    I am extremely dissapointed that President Nasheed has agreed to such violations of human rights which are not allowed under our constitution and Islam.

  4. I hear the MDP government has decided to bring two Palestinians instead of the Chinese. This would please the Israelis as it would probably give them an opportunity to interogate the suspects themselves. Of course, holding two Palestinians captive in the Maldives under surveillance with their phone calls, letters and other communications monitored by the government of Maldives would be very helpful for Israel. The way things are going, with the renewal of friendship and cooperation with Israel and the signing of an aid agreement with Rockefellar "the king of jews" and the planned detention of Palestinians in the Maldives, we will very soon probably have the Maldives fighting alsongside Israel in the war against Muslims.

  5. goodbye freedom and independence of Maldives! it is price for getting a membership in slaves of american policy club?

  6. Fandhara, don't talk nonsense!
    President is going on his begging trips to create jobs for his dear party activists and expand his party's grip on the nation. Nothing good for the average Maldivian.We are still in debt to the kanmathee store, damn it!

    In any case how the heck can he accept Gitmo prisoners in our nation. Maldives is not his personal property and we are not his slaves.

    If Americans want to close down the prison then fine. Close it, and send the detainees back to where they were arrested in the first place. Surely they were not taken from Maldives. I think the President has lost it completely! Insanity at it's peak!

  7. One wonders why Nasheed is so worried about two people held in the most notorious jails of the world when he can not put his own house in order. Nasheed's self greed and enthusiasm to be popular in the face of western countires are self revealing when he starts talking about human rights and Islam suddenly, when he wants to settle two guantanmo prisoners in maldives. We in the maldives are surviving sometimes without the basic needs and the stupid president seems to be more worried about these two bloody guantanamo's.

  8. this is nothing but another political stunt like the "under water cabinet meeting" to grab international media headlines. The government has shown more than once that it is more concerned about their international image than any thing else.

    Why is the government even entertaining an idea like this. We have a growing "extremist" problem witch the government refusing to address and even goes as far as to empower them . We have religious "Unity" laws that are coming into place that will create a defecto moral police like that of iran and Taliban.

  9. @hameed

    For your information Rockefeller is not a Jew by birth nor does the family practice Judaism.

  10. @Nashath

    One does not fight against religion, extremist or not, he/she is a muslim. Whether you like it or not, fighting extremism is like refusing god in some ways.
    Extremism is here to stay until the day this country embraces true democracy and open its doors to religious freedom.

  11. Do we sense a hint of jealousy here? Why are we so hesitant to engage in the global order? I am yet to be convinced with this doublespeak from the remnants of a bunch of pseudo intellectuals from the previous dictatorship who seem to be alienating themselves from everything around them starting from the folk in Thodhoo. Way to go President Nasheed! We are with you.

  12. Yesterady it was "Chinese citizens", today it is "Palestinian citizen", wonder what the Dr or the HEP would say tomorrow. Perhaps "Maldivian citizens".

  13. There is absolutely no justification to bring in these prisoners whether they are inocent or not. We have lot more things to worry in our homeground than this issue. What good name does it it bring except some other countries will make our travel much more harder and more scrutinity in obtaining visa.This purely for president Nasheeds personal gains. He need a name for himself. His only vision is to win a Noble price and to do this its an excellent opportunity to win over Americans. We should not allow this to happen by any means.

  14. So now we're the equivalent of a 'Muslim refugee camp'?

    What is it with us Maldivians that we have to act more catholic than the Pope?

    The countries that have refused to take its citizens back are also Muslim nations.

    And they seem to have good reasons for it.

    The inmates of Gitmo are widely perceived to be highly radicalized - irrespective of whether or not they were terrorists before incarceration.

    But of course, as long as this is done in the name of religion, we'll willingly swallow this.

    "Poor Muslim brothers in peril" indeed.

  15. Does the DRP's decision to democratize foreign policy signal a shift in the overall trend in a field of executive decision-making which is largely left free of public influence? Or will they abandon consensus-seeking when in power?

    Political parties when in opposition have much to gain by inviting public engagement with foreign policy while those in power naturally regard such intrusions as hurdles to effective policy-making and de'tente.

    Bush-era foreign policy in the USA met with considerable public opinion, both for and against. The consensus shifted towards opposition towards what was seen as the unilateralism and interventionism of the Bush administration. This in turn ousted the GoP from power. Will the MDP meet with the same fate if they do not seek consensus on issues such as diplomatic ties with Israel and the recent crystallization of ongoing efforts to court America's favor?

    How effective is public will in shaping foreign policy? Parliamentary meddling in the Israel affair was defeated politically by the MDP administration the last time around. The Bush administration itself soldiered on through mounting public displeasure.

    How useful is public consensus on issues which noted bureaucrats such as Henry Kissinger regard to be better left in the hands of high-level decision-makers? Especially in a country such as the Maldives where public awareness on international issues are relatively low as well as the ability of the masses to fully understand the forces at play and the consequences, whether good or bad, of foreign policy are less than limited.

    In the political perspective, what is most important is whether the DRP in full "opposition mode" can guide and mobilize public opinion against foreign-policy decisions which are regarded controversial in the Maldivian context to the extent that it harms the re-election prospects of President Nasheed or any other Presidential candidate fielded by the MDP.

    In answer to queries regarding the possible benefits of accomodating America's interests, any reasonable person can make a guess at it. America's political goodwill is sure to be forthcoming. The free flow of dollars in aid and trade are definitely to follow.

  16. If they are innocent why is the US so reluctant to settle these people on its own soil? These people suffered in the US hand. Here they cannot acquire citizenship, which means they will have to lead a life in limbo

  17. Ali, Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I was referring to Rothschild and not Rockefeller.

  18. I Wonder how unislamic we have become. Is it not prescribed in islam to feed the miskeen, and the yatheem and the aseer? Are we even more mean hearted then the atheists and agnostics? Are we going to allow the christians to beat us in charity while its prescribed over and over again in Quruan?

    Anni is by no means a saint, he may have other reasons to get involved in this issue rather than pure charity. But does it matter? Why can't we have sympathy for those men who are kept behind bars for several years despite they being innocent? Anyone who barks about "criminals... in terrorist cell" etc is an ignoramus who shall not be listened to. These are just ordinary people who just happened to be at the wrong time in the wrong place.

    As for America, they can keep these ppl behind bars for a millennium if they wish. they only want to close the camp and end the symbolism of torture there. they will not let any real terrorist be transferred to another country.

  19. Fine, again!
    They have Muslim charity organizations in the US as well.
    Problem is not in giving asylum to some poor hapless Muslims. Problem is ANNI.
    He is targeting for a nobel peace prize, at the expense of turning Maldivians into second class citizens in their own country, and losing our identity.

  20. This is the warm welcome we get from US readers of this news.

    "bk2738 wrote on 15/05/2010 05:33:43 PM:
    Send the rest of them there to bulk up the Muslim community"

    happy huh?

  21. @Hamza

    Stop bubbling about DRP,MDP and G.Bush this is not about our foreign policy issue. We can do a lot more better things with our foreign policy. This has a direct implication on any Maldivian Citizen. Try and open your mind on long term than a short term and think on national interest than your own political interest at least on this issue. We will not let this happen.


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