No time for fair trial before elections, says former President

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed has said there is insufficient time to conduct a fair trial against him before the presidential elections scheduled for September 7.

The former President, who is being tried for the controversial detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed – charges Nasheed’s party contend is a politically-motivated attempt to bar him from contesting the election – said having the state arrest the MDP candidate and then hold elections would be “akin to play-acting.”

“The Maldivian people must receive justice. Therefore, God willing, I will come out to face that justice in 2018,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed also called upon Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz to temporarily halt the trial. He said the Chief Justice had previously taken a stand on similar cases of national interest, and hence must comment on the trial in question.

The former President also said that his legal team would appeal a verdict released by the High Court on Monday, after it upheld the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court where he is being tried.

“This trial that is to be held at the Hulhumale’ Court concerns a huge coup d’etat. The way I see it, this trial should have 30 or so hearings, at least. Lawyers should get a minimum period of 15 days between hearings. Otherwise, we cannot say this is a just process,” he said.

Nasheed said that if things proceeded at the current pace, the trial “will be still be ongoing when we win the upcoming elections.”

“A serving president cannot be tried in a court during his term without parliamentary approval. I don’t see that approval coming from the parliament,” Nasheed said.

“There isn’t a single person who hasn’t made some kind of comment about this trial now, from ministers to princes to island chiefs to imams,” Nasheed said, alleging that the government, too, had made a variety of comments in an attempt to influence the trial.

Nasheed said that he did not believe there was any chance of a fair trial under the present circumstances.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister for South Asia, Alistair Burt, has meanwhile met with President Mohamed Waheed and “emphasised the importance of moving swiftly towards free, fair and inclusive elections later this year.”

“I also stressed the importance of all parties being able to participate with the candidate of their choice. I was encouraged to learn that the date for these elections has now been confirmed for 7 September 2013,” Burt said in a statement.

The former President has meanwhile departed on an official visit to India.

MDP seeking arrest of police commissioner

Nasheed also stated that work was underway to ensure the arrest of Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz, whom he accused of “illegally ascending to the post of Commissioner after the coup d’etat.”

“We are working to bring all those who participated in orchestrating the coup d’etat to justice. It is only a small number of police and army officials who have brought about this coup. Now they are arresting innocent citizens,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed said the core issue now facing the country was resolving the alleged “coup d’etat” brought about by Abdulla Riyaz and the Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim.

Nasheed made the remarks during a press conference on Tuesday (February 5) in relation to a former member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and a Councillor of the island of Narudhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, Hussain Siraj, joining the MDP.

With Siraj joining MDP, the party has now gained a majority in the Narudhoo Island Council.


6 thoughts on “No time for fair trial before elections, says former President”

  1. There is no question that Mr. Nasheed's trial must be held, which has a direct correlation to the events that took place on 7 Feb. But also, the trail must not be politically motivated and he must be allowed to contest the elections. But the sheer arrogance of him, to say he will face charges in 2018 and to dismiss the elections as a contest which the MDP has already won is delusional.

    It is worth reminding ourselves that elections do not solve deep rooted problems. 'Elections' are a Western set menu designed for post-conflict situations and countries in transitions and completely ignores the cultural and societal changes that had taken place during that period.

    Elections do no change people's perceptions, behavior or mindsets.

  2. @Ibrahim Saleem...bit rich of you to say "the sheer arrogance of him, to say he will face charges in 2018 and to dismiss the elections as a contest which the MDP has already won is delusional." Well then, did Baghee Waheed one day wake up and find out that the post of VP fell on his bed?
    Furthermore, you must be living in another dimension of this Universe when you state that "Elections" are Westen menu", when all the other DEVELOPED countries hold elections themselves...let me see...none of the other conflict ridden, dictatorial regimes support elections precisely because they know that elections change people's perception and is a threat to their power....This is where it is worth reminding ourselves also, not to listen to what people like you have to say and to get on with what needs to be done to bring in true justice....hold elections asap.

  3. @Poppat

    Thank you for proving my point. Elections are precisely a tool deployed by Western countries because its an important component of a democratic system as practices in developed countries. Look whats happened in Tunisia, Libya, Myanmar and possibly in Syria and Mali. They already have had elections or will have them in the future.

    Maldives will have an election in September which is very much welcomed. But do not be so naive to think that elections alone will sort it out. In fact, I think it will further polarize society as long as people do not know how to keep politics aside which has pushed the country to the brink.

    Didn't someone once say that democracy is the 51% ruling over the 49%? There's no indication to believe that the various factions will work together to progress national development. In fact, all factions/parties will work towards increasing their own power and self-interest rather than serving the people. You think a single election will sort this out do you?

  4. Saleem. You are right. Even the political leaders are also not matured enough to understand the party politics.

    Look at Nasheed the so called the champion of democracy . He was elected to be the president of the country in 2008 but was more of the president for MDP not for the country . His words and actions had proven and his party leaders had proven that.

    He had told openly that he will show his evil side to those how does not agree with him.

    Some MP told that housing Flats will be given to MDP member only and rest of the people will not be entailed since that was build during Nasheed regime.

    These are not so democratic words and these show more of the dictatorial rules.

  5. @Ibrahim Saleem...I don't see how I have proved your point. I was merely pointing out your self-contradicting statements. At one point you are saying that President Nasheed ought to be allowed to contest and then in the next juncture you come across as saying that it is a Western agenda modified for democratic nations. Shortly, you don't give a solution to the dilemma. And let me quote you "a Western set menu designed for post-conflict situations and countries in transitions and completely ignores the cultural and societal changes that had taken place during that period". As far as I can see, all countries that have valued elections are the ones that have taken into consideration and strived to preserve their culture and societal changes, unlike countries who do not value elections which brings in sweeping changes which are almost alien to their history and cilvilization.
    Please don't mistake my statement to naivety that elections alone will solve the problem. But it is the start to address and dwelve into the problem. In fact, polarization of politics in a situation like this has to be welcomed. Without it, the power of the people is already lost, as is the situation in Maldives. The people of Maldives cannot afford to sit on the fence and ho-hum and apologise for what is happening anymore. I don't know where you get your data from, but from what I see, there is also no indication to say that various factions are not working together to progress national development. My dear, politics is about play of power. No single party will ever be in power, but someone has to have power to bring in desired changes and so far, that party or person in power is not doing a good job of it. That is why we must have an election, be it in the Western agenda or not. Imposing democratic values in Maldives, such as elections is the only way to change peoples perspectives, by bringing them kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Peoples mindset will never change unless change is brought imposed on them.

  6. If Kuribee thinks we should deal with drug traffickers, child rapists and murderers with nice words, then he is sorely mistaken. Nasheed should have taken a tougher stance against ablho and his gang.

    Of course, the criminals ablho allowed free in his long career did not like it when their crimes were being investigated.


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