The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has condemned the international community’s “hypocrisy and double standards” with regards to an ongoing terrorism trial against former President Mohamed Nasheed.
Nasheed is accused of abducting Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. If convicted, he faces a jail term or banishment between ten and 15 years.
Speaking to the press today, MP and PPM Spokesperson Ali Arif said the former president is “close to the international community’s hearts” because he had allegedly “spoken against Islam while abroad.”
The ruling party said “many observers, ‘experts’ and ‘proponents of democratic values’ including many countries and organisations had ignored the many unconstitutional and undemocratic actions of President Nasheed.”
The Commonwealth, EU, Canada, UK, Australia and India have expressed concern over new terror charges against Nasheed, and denial of legal representation and police mistreatment at the trial’s first hearing.
“We wish to ask these observers and organisations whether they really ‘condone the kidnapping of judges.’ Would they call for individuals, and those in positions of authority, to walk free, without any burden of responsibility, after conducting such actions in their own countries?” reads a press statement issued in English.
“Where was the ‘international community’ when the Supreme Court was locked up?” it continued.
The international community had remained “disturbingly silent” when Nasheed “systematically harassed and persecuted” former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, “arbitrarily arrested and detained” then MP and current President Abdulla Yameen, Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim, Adhaalath Party’s Sheikh Imran Abdulla, and current Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, the statement said.
When Judge Abdulla was detained, “only a few organisations released statements condemning this illegal act,” but today “every minor incident in Maldives warrants a statement by some countries and organisations while many serious and deteriorating situations in other countries are ignored,” it added.
The party called on the international community to respect Maldives sovereignty and not to undermine its institutions.
PPM also accused the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and media of defaming President Yameen and former President Gayoom to “undermine the good name and respect the Maldives holds in the region and the international arena.”
Stressing the PPM remained committed to strengthening and consolidating democracy in the Maldives and protecting human rights, the party said it believed “justice should take its course and no man is above the law.”
The ruling party invited all international parties to come forward and observe the “actual situation” in the Maldives, “which despite distortions of facts perpetuated by some media remain calm and normal.”
Police previously informed Minivan News over 77 individuals have been arrested at opposition protests, with 33 of them being released on condition that they do not go to further protests.
Recently, an open letter signed by 31 global activists and film makers, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, called on the international community to use all resources to “pressure the government to free” Nasheed and “desist in all human rights abuses against him immediately.”
Ramos-Horta and Benedict Rodgers, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission in the UK, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 9 called for international sanctions against the Maldives.
“Options include targeted sanctions, freezing the overseas assets of senior members of the regime and suspending the Maldives from the Commonwealth. Tourists should consider boycotting the Maldives, especially resorts owned by regime cronies,” they wrote.
Australian Senator James McGrath has also described the trial against Nasheed as a “state planned judicial assassination,” saying that President Abdulla Yameen was becoming the “Robert Mugabe of the Indian Ocean.”
Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has previously condemned international statements of concern, saying: “No foreign power can tell Maldives what to do under President [Abdulla] Yameen.”
“To criticize us in public statements with lies or based with having only heard the opposition’s point of view is not acceptable. The government will not accept these statements and will not pay any attention to them,” Dunya said.
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