President dismisses outcry over Gitmo inmate resettlement

President Mohamed Nasheed has dismissed public outcry over the resettlement of a two Guantanamo Bay inmates in the Maldives as “political waves through misty clouds.”

“I don’t really think there is much of an outcry. I first mentioned this sometime last year in December, and this has been public knowledge since then – not a single person has said anything about it all this time,” he said.

The agreement, in which the United States will fund the transfer of two Muslim inmates to the Maldives on humanitarian grounds, has met with consternation from opposition parties who argue the move will make the Maldives look like “a terrorist paradise rather than a tourist paradise.”

“I will say again, they are not terrorists,” Nasheed said during a press conference today. “It was very clear back then that people were arrested [and put] in Guantanamo without proper checks. People were just taken from all over and incarcerated. Today, when the jail is being dismantled, and the Maldives is among the few 100 percent Muslim countries in the world, if we can’t care about them, where is the example we are showing to the international community and other people of the book [Jews and Christians]?”

Nasheed said the Maldives and the US State Department had “looked into who [he] is, and who his relatives are.”

“Just think, these people have been kept in a small cell in handcuffs and chains for six or seven years when they’ve not done anything at all [to deserve it]. Do you know how they kept? We’ve seen the photos. So when we help one of them and people talk about it [negatively], I don’t really want to listen to it at all.”

Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan meanwhile told newspaper Miadhu that “overreacting” to the resettlement of the Guantanamo Bay detainees risked “losing the focus on more realistic issues.”

Parliament’s National Security Committee had arranged a meeting on the issue on Wednesday to identify potential legal problems with the resettlement, however Minivan News understands this has been rescheduled.

Nasheed meanwhile said there were no obstacles in Maldivian law, constitution or customs preventing the Maldives from resettling the inmate.

“I don’t think that the people of this country is against such a humanitarian assistance or deed,” he said.

Speaking to Miadhu, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed derided opposition criticism of the move as politically motivated, noting that the same party that had led a no confidence motion against him for strengthening the country’s diplomatic relationship with Israel now disproved of the Maldives helping Muslims.

The inmate was a Palestinian man who was arrested and taken to Guantanamo while preaching in Pakistan, Shaheed said.

“According to the information I have, his home was demolished by Israeli troops and that many of his family members are being intimidated by Israel,” Dr Shaheed told Miadhu.

The only Maldivian held in Guantanamo Bay, Ibrahim Fauzee, was flown to Male in May 2005. Fauzee was arrested in May 2002 in Karachi, where he was studying.


15 thoughts on “President dismisses outcry over Gitmo inmate resettlement”

  1. It is a good move. An example set by Mr. Anni, will be written in the history. I don’t know how crazy people are who are opposing this. This seems some people even will reject Islam if Nasheed openly say that Islam will be the religion of Maldives.

  2. I wonder whether the plan to arrest this poor Palestinian in the Maldives has anything to do with government's relations with Israel. What right do we have to deny a human being, let alone a Palestinian Muslim, the right to leave the country, listen to his phone calls, go through all his communication and to monitor his activities day and night. It is worrying that the government might give Israelis access to interrogate the prisoner. I'm sure the government's help in holding the Palestinian at bay will be appreciated by the Israelis.I'm surprised that President Nasheed would stoop so low as to be ready to violate the basic human rights of a tortured prisoner for the sake of a few bucks and possibly an award with the help of US or Israel.

  3. This is totally stupid, President Nasheed is behaving like he is god, anything and everything he say and do is right he thinks. He is trying to downplay this issue as usual he does for his pledges and lies. He is never sincere in anything he does proves every day of his actions.Shame on you Mr.President.

  4. It is not only the "opposition" that is against this. The country is already dealing with a home grown infestation of extremists. We don't want to bring in battle hardened "holy-warriors" into this country. Each passing day shows that Anni is under increasing control of the Maldivian Taliban. We voted for Anni in hopes of a more liberal Maldives. But Anni have thrown the liberals under the bus to make deals with the fundamentalists.

  5. This is not about helping a Muslim brother. Our president should listen to our own voices. The country is in a financial chaos, ordinary people are not able to ends meet. We are addressing a domestic issue that involves 300 Thousand people. So I called on the governement to leave this resettlement issue about 1 or 2 Muslim brothers and focus the core issue. President can also campaign for Noble Peace Price if try and find resettlement for these 2 Muslim brothers to settle either in Israil or US or any other western country.
    I call upon all Maldivians to raise as ONE VOICE not to let our goverment to allow this resettlemnet Agenda.

  6. Great. this man who has been held in a prison without a trial, who had his home demolished by israel, will just come to maldives and settle down and everything will be fine. things are not that simple.will he not want justice? maybe he will want revenge.
    are we helping muslims or are we helping the people who are slaughtering muslims?
    does this person actually want to come to the maldives or is he being forced to come here?

  7. It is always good to help people such as those in Guantanamo who are in bad situation, so government must be congratulated for this.

    Also Maldivian people should know how much was paid or what aid was given in exchange for taking these prisoners. We know USA is desprate to close Guantanamo and have already made many deals with other countries. People involved in these discussions have suspect record in taking under the table (remember “Dr Shaheed's 2 million”?). Like Gayoom, maybe Anni does not take any money himself but he does not mind if others do. Even if Anni promised to end corruption in his many promises.

    I am surprised media have not questioned government about this.

  8. Dear HEP, Why don't you ask the Mistake floater to remedy it. Why you are oblige to settle them in Maldives.
    So do with the best thing other than Nobel prize.

  9. the country already has a thousand borderline extremists - if the US is willing to pay us millions of dollars to put a few in - by all means go ahead. we already have these idiots on our soil - might as well profit from it for a bit

  10. Aaah, thats it. The reason why Anni is doing this stupid thing is not helping muslims. Its all about getting funds from US State Department and making a good name infront of American eyes. What a clever idiot. If you were that concerned of Muslims and for your so called 100% Muslim status of Maldives, try to help the thousands of suffering muslims in Kashmir, Chechniya, Palestine and most if all the poor Maldivians themselves. You are nothing but a selfish bastardn Anni.

  11. This guy is not only stupid, I doubt he has any idea about what he talks most of the time. This is the guy who went on make international media headline on his first week in office, that he wants to buy land from other country, in case of a need to evacuate Maldivians. But today he want resettle other people in Maldives before he leave in office.

  12. “I will say again, they are not terrorists,” Nasheed said during a press conference today.

    Sure Nasheed, then why does the US Congress refuse to settle them on US soil? Why send them to one of the poorest countries in the world?

    It's a bit like dumping their trash in someone else's back yard!

    We have to say NO to this on principle, not because we don't want to help Muslims. Helping Muslims is not the issue here.


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