MDP MP Ghafoor jailed as Supreme Court annuls parliamentary immunities

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has deplored the sudden jailing of its MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, despite promises of “leniency” from the government.

Ghafoor was sentenced in absentia to six months in prison for contempt of court, after failing to comply with police summons and evading authorities for almost a month by hiding in the parliament building.

Ghafoor contended that the court was deliberately scheduling hearings during critical votes and debates, violating the Parliamentary Privileges Act which requires MPs be allowed to be present during voting.

The Supreme Court on Thursday annulled several articles of the Privileges Act, declaring that this requirement was unconstitutional.

The Home Ministry then told local media that Ghafoor had been taken to Maafushi prison to serve his six month sentence, and would not be returned to Male for parliament sittings.

The Supreme Court in October stripped MDP-aligned MPs Ali Azim and Mohamed Nashiz of their seats, delivering the verdict in absentia in what the opposition labelled a “purge” of its majority. Azim was eventually arrested after the military stormed the parliament building and took him into custody.

The campaign of dismissals and imprisonment of opposition MPs reduces their lead in parliament ahead of critical votes on approval of President Yameen’s new cabinet ministers, as well as the passing of the government’s revised budget.

In a statement, the MDP condemned the jailing of its MP and spokesperson, noting that this came despite assurances from new Home Minister Umar Naseer that the government would treat the case with “leniency”.

“He was [initially] arrested in clear violation of the Parliamentary Privileges Act, which states that MPs cannot be arrested while a no-confidence motion against a government minister is pending,” the party stated.

“On Thursday the Maldives Supreme Court – an institution widely discredited as partisan in recent months – annulled the Parliamentary Privileges Act, in an apparent attempt to target MDP MPs such as Hamid,” it added.

MDP deputy chairperson Ali Shiyam observed that President Yameen, “who won the presidency in contested circumstances with 52% of the vote, said he would rule as a president for ‘all Maldivians’.”

“Sadly, within days of his presidency, the courts – which are de facto controlled by the executive – have started a witch-hunt against MDP MPs. This does not bode well for co-operation or compromise between the opposition and the ruling administration,” he said.


7 thoughts on “MDP MP Ghafoor jailed as Supreme Court annuls parliamentary immunities”

  1. Confused? So what is the legislature of Maldives? Some one needs to cut the SC idiots into size, sooner rather than later.

  2. This is a good start to His Royal Highness Yameen's presidency. I would humbly suggest to him, as a Maldivian peasant, that Maldives join the Peoples' Republic of China. In order to do this, it might be useful to declare a state of emergency first.

    Better still, join North Korea. Sorry, they are not Muslims, or are they? Well, I think it does not matter anyway after all.

  3. noting that this came despite assurances from new Home Minister Umar Naseer that the government would treat the case with “leniency”

    Wtf? Who in their right mind believes what Umar Naseer says? He toppled the last democratic government with just a ladder. Now he's used that ladder to climb to the position of a cabinet minister. There is an old saying, "The faster you rise, the harder you will fall"... Hope he has some cushions under the ladder.

  4. What's the use of the Parliament passing bills if Supreme court just dismisses them right out.

    I would like to see the details reasons they gave when they made their claims.

    The supreme court is supreme within the bounds of the law's passed by the parliament in line with the Constitution which was passed by the parliament as well. Everything gets derailed at the point where supreme court even trumps the constitution and goes on gallivanting on the idea of 3 separate powers of state.

  5. So it seems that Members of Parliament cannot be arrested while a 'no confidence motion' is being taken. But when is a 'no confidence motion' ever not present in our parliament ? Its messed up but thats the way it is right ?

    But lets not forget that the vast majority of common citizens do not care about the previliges of the previliged being molested. These sob stories will not help the fight against the courts but only expose the failings of all institutions and parties in the maldives.

  6. Did anyone really expect anything else from 'this' government,,and will Nasheed be next ??? of course he will...Gayoom does not want any interference in his business empire , ie the Maldives..


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