US thanks Maldives while DRP continues opposition to Gitmo decision

The US State Department has thanked the Maldivian government for agreeing to accept detainees from Guantánamo Bay, but opposition parties are still saying they were not informed of the government’s decision.

Spokesman for the US State Department, Philip Crowley, said yesterday: “The United States welcomes the Government of Maldives reaffirmation that it intends to accept detainees from Guantánamo Bay. The United States is grateful to all countries that have accepted detainees [and] for their willingness to support US efforts to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility.”

Jeffery Anderson at the US Embassy to the Maldives in Colombo said they embassy could provide no further information on the detainees being transferred to the Maldives.

President Mohamed Nasheed said yesterday: “It was very clear back then that people were arrested [and put] in Guantánamo 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]?”

Press Secretary for the President’s Office, Mohamed Zuhair, said he believed the detainee being transferred was a Palestinian man from the West Bank.

“According to the US Department of State, he is not capable of planning or executing a crime,” Zuhair noted.

He said the man belongs to the Tabligh sect of Islam, and added, “that is not criminal behaviour.”

Zuhair said the man was chosen because he was “the least controversial” prisoner and had not been charged with a crime. “This man will have complete records with him,” he said, adding all consultations about his past were held by the US government.

“He did not have a fair trail,” Zuhair noted. “Actually, he did not have a trial.”

He said the Maldives had chosen to take a former prisoner of the detention centre because the Maldives is “one of many interested in closing Guantánamo Bay and the repatriation of the remaining prisoners.”

Zuhair said bringing a Guantánamo detainee to the Maldives would give the country “prestige” and “honour.”

“The [Maldivian] population is devoutly Muslim and this will translate to more prestige and honour and better sentiment towards the Maldives,” he said. “It will have a positive effect all the way.”

Humanitarian action

State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Naseem, said it was still premature to talk about how many detainees will be sent from the controversial prison, who they are or when they will be brought to the Maldives.

“It has not come to that stage yet,” he said, “but we have certain ideas of who [will be brought].”

He added that the prisoners still have to be interviewed and many legalities are still being examined.

“We also need to know why these people were arrested,” Naseem noted, emphasising that “we are not bringing any terrorists to the Maldives.”

“Not everyone who was arrested is a terrorist or a criminal,” he said, referring to the Maldivian national Ibrahim Fauzee, who was taken to Guantánamo in 2002 and brought back to the Maldives in 2005.

“His apartment happened to be formerly occupied by Palestinian terrorists and he was taken by police,” Naseem said, noting that Fauzee was later released with no charges.

Fauzee, who is president of the Maldivian religious NGO the Islamic Foundation, said he did not wish to comment on the issue.

Naseem noted that “everybody knows” there were many wrongful detentions made by the USA after the 9/11 attacks, “similar to arrests during Gayoom’s regime.”

He said the nationality of the detainees did not matter, since this is “a humanitarian issue.”

“A lot of Muslims have been affected by this,” he said, adding that as long as the resettlement was within the Constitution and laws of the country, there should be no problem in resettling former Guantánamo Bay prisoners.

Naseem said the US State Department had carefully chosen several countries around the world and had asked them to take in prisoners who were cleared of charges in their bid to close down the detention centre.

“They [USA] has confidence in the Maldives, in our human rights record, and know the [detainees] will have their rights [here].”

He noted the US “will have an obligation” to take into consideration the living expenses for any detainees sent to the Maldives.

“But those details still have to be worked out,” he added.

Naseem said this is “purely based on human rights” and the only reason it was becoming such a big issue locally was because the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) had obtained official papers “and are having a field day with this.”

He added that the decision to resettle the detainees been public knowledge since December last year when President Nasheed announced his intention to bring in detainees during his radio address.


The Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP) has been especially vocal in its opposition to the resettlement of Guantánamo prisoners.

They wrote in their website: “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.”

DQP believes the president does not have the Constitutional authority to “transfer convicts” into the country, adding that such an actions would “make expatriates working in the country as well as visiting tourists more unsettled.”

They are planning on filing a case at court and a bill at the next session of Parliament prohibiting the transfer of foreign prisoners to the Maldives.

The party added the government was “not making any effort” to repatriate Maldivians in foreign jails.

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan said he thought the move would be dangerous to the country, claiming, “I do not believe this will make any betterment to the country. It is putting our country in danger.”

He said DRP MP Ali Waheed had sent a letter to the Majlis’ National Security Committee on the issue, but the sitting has been postponed. He said it would hopefully take place in the “coming weeks.”

“We are asking to get more details. No one knows what the government is trying to do,” Nihan said. “We’re totally in a dark place.”

He said his party had an issue with the lack of transparency, noting that they knew nothing about it until “some papers between the President’s Office and some ministries were leaked.”

“The government has already made a binding agreement. Members of the Majlis hope to know about serious matters like this.”

He said resettling Guantánamo convicts in the country is “a serious issue” and could have “serious consequences. If anything happens in the wrong direction, we’re in a serious situation,” he said, referring to the geographic location of the Maldives and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“If the government is genuine about this,” he said, “we would already have had negotiations between the government and the Majlis.”

Nihan added that President Nasheed’s remarks to the media yesterday, particularly his dismissal of the opposition’s outcry, was “total rudeness. It was like a comment from George Bush.”

He said he could not speak for his entire party, but said that regardless of whether the government was careful about who they were bringing into the country, “I cannot agree on this.”

History of Guantánamo

Land in Cuba’s Guantánamo Bay in the Oriente Province, the south-east of the island, was rented out by the United States in 1903 to set up a naval base. It was originally used for monitoring illegal migrants trying to enter the United States through Florida and other ports in the Caribbean.

Starting in 2002, prisoners accused of terrorism were sent to a detention centre in the base, after George W. Bush’s administration began capturing “enemy combatants” from around the world following the September 11 2001 attacks.

From its inception the detention centre has been surrounded by accusations of torture and of withholding the rights of prisoners under the Geneva Convention, which would guarantee them a fair trial.

Since 2002, many detainees have been released without charge after years of imprisonment, like Britain’s “Tipton Three,” who were repatriated to England in 2004 after two years of wrongful imprisonment.

In 2009 the White House reported that since 2002, approximately 800 individuals were imprisoned as ‘enemy combatants’ and detained at Guantánamo. Around 500 of those prisoners were either transferred or released, whether to their home countries or to a third country.

Additionally, they note “the Department of Defense has determined that a number of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo are eligible for such transfer or release.”

In January 2009, US President Barack Obama ordered the closing of the Guantánamo detention centre within a year, and assigned a special task force to “consider policy options for apprehension, detention, trial, transfer or release of detainees.” He also banned the use of “harsh interrogations”.

The order states that all prisoners not eligible for transfer must be prosecuted, or the state must “select lawful means…for the disposition of such individuals.”

On the transfer of prisoners, the president’s order reads: “[The Special Task Force] will also look at rendition and other policies for transferring individuals to third countries to be sure that our policies and practices comply with all obligations and are sufficient to ensure that individuals do not face torture and cruel treatment if transferred.”

Crowley added yesterday that “since 2009, the United States has transferred 59 detainees to 24 different destinations; 35 of these have been transfers to third countries.”


34 thoughts on “US thanks Maldives while DRP continues opposition to Gitmo decision”

  1. It is very interesting and an honourable act that president Nasheed and his government is insistent that they would bring the rightful brothers to the maldives on humanitarian grounds.
    How about bring those women and children who are constantly been persecuted in places like Dhafur(Sudan), the displaced in northern frontier provinces of Pakistan etc etc?. Why not bring those kids in Palestine and else where under constant threat of been killed and house them in a beautiful Island in the Maldives? I see a Nobel prize on the horiszon!

  2. why can’t the US provide home for these people on its own soil? Incarcerated for nine years,people suffered in the American hand. The best recompense would be to provide home on its own soil. America is considered the land of opportunity.

    I have my sympathy for these fellow Muslims. In Maldives these people will lead a life in limbo. They cannot get Maldivian passport. They will become another Mohamed Ali, the Kenyan boy found adrift in Maldives water and rescued by fishermen 20 years ago now marooned and dejected in our society. Without full benefit of citizenship, it will be a slow death for them. This is not an outcry. But a humble plea to President Nasheed and Dr. Shaheed: Please use your political leverage and find a place where these people can enjoy full benefit of a citizen.

  3. Welldone President Nasheed, you have won the gratitude of the US for offering to help continue the violation of the rights of those imprisoned in Guantanamo. Israel would also be thankful to you for helping to detain a Palestinian in the Maldivies without the right to leave and in violation of his basic rights. Bravo! Bravo! Keep up the good work!

  4. Assalaam A'laikum

    I support President Nasheed this time. But anyone who look in to this matter will find out that Fauzee went to a militant camp in Pakistan and he had a 12 year old pregnant 'wife' in maldives.

  5. Why do we Maldivians have to take the burden for the mess US has created? We have already so many of our own problems.Come on Mr.Nasheed, this has nothing to do with helping out a fellow Muslim, just one mans personal greed. Cut the bullshit we aren't daft.

  6. Mr President, being as a Maldivian I would be proud if you are genuinely involved in the promotion of human rights around the world. The controversies that arised over this matter is due to a genuine reason and it is very appalling that you try to shut your eyes to the questions of Journalists. I am quite astounded with you for evading while you are the president that we fought so hard to elect. You are the president who enthusiastically advocate for real democracy. Maldivians are one of the kind and generous muslims around the world. We had donated as much as we can to the Chechnyan muslims during the 90's n we had donated the palestinian muslims last year as much as we can.

    Maldivian economy is solely reliant on tourism which made us more economically vulnerable. I am sanguine there wont be any patriotic Maldivian who would want to make such a comprise over our nations security. We had more priorities before we immigrate people from other countries, especially in such a controvertial case.

    I implore you to change your views before its too late and before people loose confidence over your administration from such feeble excuses.I have seen how cruel your administration was from the last protest held on hiking electricity prices. It is during your administration, people are being oppressed and tortured from protesting and expressing their views. Also, it is during your administration, that police were so brutal and being so draconian in dealing with opposition protest.

  7. So America will pay his living expenses... Where's he going to live? Who is going to hire him? Can he get a job here? What will he do all day while the rest of us work? Will he just roam the streets of Male? We already have too many doing this. Not sure if I'm for or against it yet. Too many questions are still unanswered but probably need some real answers before they put him on the plane.

  8. I am an expat living in Male and i feel MORE secure becuase of this. The sooner that awful detention centre is closed, the sooner muslims and christians can be friends again and the safer and happier everyone will be

  9. To ABC dont tell fabricated lies,to justify things. Fauzee was in wrong place at wrong time in Karachi like many of us who were there to study. When FBI along with Pakistani rangers raided the house where Fauzee was renting a room and living with his wife. Irrespective of any human rights just in front of all the women and children in that house, US FBI arrest all the men in that house that time and send them to Gunatanamo Bay. He was not in any camp, he was studying in Karachi only that time. Thats what we heard about Fauzee from his relatives in Karachi that time even.

  10. Ok, so the government says the guys from gitmo are totally innocent and just good human beings and accused unfairly.

    BUT then why are they being brought here to Maldives with all their communication to be under surveillance, they cant travel abroad, they have to be monitored?? Is that how this government sees free innocent people are treated??

    Its really pathetic to see this government really thinks that the public are fools! We will show you who are the fools on 2013!!

  11. When I was a young boy,we heard of one Silvia being killed by a Joachim. This man was banished to an island where he got married and now has grown up children. Whats the difference in this case. He was never sent back to his home country Germany. There are lot of foreigners in Maldivian Jails even now. All this talks a politically motivated. Nothing this government does will be acceptable to the power hungry leaders in the opposition.

  12. just another of the Presidents gigs to get international publicity. he couldn't care less if a person is muslim, christian, hindu, bahaai or whatever 😀

  13. You all know how US acts when it comes to incercaration. You are all Muslims and you are all at risk of being snatched for no reason at all except being Muslims. How would you feel about this whole saga if one of your relatives who was simply taken by US for no reason other than having a Muslim name was in Gitmo. So stop calling these people criminals when even the US can't find any evidence against them. Have some compassion for the fellow Muslims.

  14. Beyya, Jochim committed a crime that is punishable under Maldivian law and have to serve in Maldives. Yes he got married while in Maldives and has grown up children, that is again a right of him under Maldivian law. We had some freedom from long time back.

  15. People are raising genuine concerns over this case. It's not simply about helping a fellow Muslim. The 'residents' of Gitmo are rather special. Why does the US Congress refuse to accept them on US soil? If they are harmless, like everyone is saying, surely the best place for them right now is in mainland US where they can be monitored by the most advanced surveillance in the world.

    Here in the Maldives, we can't even control a population of less than half a million. Hell, we don't really know how many Maldivians there are in total, never mind the amount of foreigners here.

    The President is trying to save his face, since he has promised this deal behind closed doors. The best course of action now is to have a sensible debate about it in Parliament (without resorting to violence).

  16. My only worry is when we are bringing a 'foreigner' we are also inviting his family.

    The Gitmo detainee may or may not be a criminal. God only knows the truth. But he is surely from a family, If not, from a society, from a people. He will have relatives or associates. That is what worries me.

    Are we ready to face all consequences that may arise due to being hospitable to an individual irrespective of who may or may not be associated with him?

    If the detainee is a lone individual with no associates or relatives who has anything to do with him, I think we should accomodate him. But who and who may or may not be associated with him is more worrying to me when I think of welcoming such an individual with open arms.

  17. Apparently, the Foreign Ministry is not just working or negotiating for the resettlement of only two detainees, the real number of detainees they want to resettle is 8, which inlcudes Palestinians, Algerians, Afghanis and Libyans.

  18. our president is more worried in helping developed countries for their unresolved domestic problems such as carbon neutral , terrorism, relocating convicted prisoners. in our very own islands there are families without proper shelter and food. priority to be given to them not to Guantanmo prisoners. Yes they are muslims but there are other muslims living in much worse conditions. This isnt a justification for us to bring them and relocate them in our soil. There are richer Muslim brothers with land. After all this is the president who is portraying that Maldives is sinking too. It would be better to relocate them in a country which will not sink!!

  19. By bringing a prisoner from Gitmo Maldives would become a partner in crime with US.

  20. I find people who are opposing this very ill-informed on the facts. Do some research before asking silly questions like why can't they stay in US or why can't they be sent back to their country of origin.

    The whole idea is to give them a chance to live as normal human beings (having found no evidence to charge them with anything) and do you really believe they could live a normal life in US? And many of the countries these people are from have oppressive regimes who either refuse to take them back or waiting with a gun hoping they would be sent back.

    Basically the game at the moment is to vigorously oppose ANY THING MDP does in the hope they will come out in a negative image. Everything is currently being politisized pitch blind.

    As I have said before, this is a result of shameless and deceitful people being able to rise the ranks in Maumoon era. The people in opposition high places are all from that era and are of low character and their morals are currently shaping this country's future. A very dangerous thing indeed.

  21. It seems I hear a lot of Republicans amongst some (regular few) anti-islamic Maldivians. Jorge W Bush used to give many of the same excuses and make the same statements as the DRP leaders are stating on this issue. Did not know there was any Bush supporters in DRP. Most likely they would have supported any other person being tortured as long as their own body is unharmed.

    Wonder if they are evangelicals at heart? Since Bush and his fellow group which started the false War on Terrorism against Muslims around the world were all supporters of anti-islamic group. Wonder why anyone would support these leaders when they are so anti-Islamic? Why not change the DRP leadership to honest people who stands up for Islam and try to not politicize everything just for their future benefit?

    Make any party have honest and God fearing leadership and I myself would love to give all support to them. We are all Muslims before all other factors of life if one follows Islam properly. Just because we are born Muslims does not make us a "Believer". To really be a believer you must have Iman and to be perfect your religion you must reach Ihsan.

    An authentic Hadith related by 'Umar ibn al-Khattab:

    "One day we were sitting in the company of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when there appeared before us a man dressed in pure white clothes, his hair extraordinarily black. There were no signs of travel on him. None of us recognized him. He sat with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Resting his knees against his and the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said, 'O Muhammad, tell me about Islam'.
    The Messenger of Allah replied, 'Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayer, pay the zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan, and perform the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so'.
    He said, 'You have spoken the truth,' and we were amazed at him asking and then verifying that he had spoken the truth. He then said, 'Inform me about Iman'.
    He replied, 'It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and in the divine destiny of both good and evil'.
    He said, 'You have spoken the truth'.
    He then said, 'Tell me about Ihsan'.
    He said, 'It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, for though you do not see Him, surely He sees you'.
    He then said, 'Inform me about the Hour'.
    He replied, 'The one who is asked knows no more than the one who is asking'.
    He said, 'Tell me some of its signs'.
    He said, 'That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, and barefoot, destitute shepherds will compete with one another in the building of magnificent buildings'.
    Then he (the questioner) went on his way but I stayed with him (the Prophet) for a long while.
    He said to me, 'Umar, do you know who this questioner was?'
    I replied, 'Allah and His Messenger know best'.
    He said, 'He was Gabriel. He came to instruct you in your religion'.''
    --related by 'Umar ibn al-Khattab - in Sahih Muslim

    In this hadith related by 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the basic aspects of the way of Muhammad are laid out. Islam is to observe the five pillars of Islam, which are the affirmation of the Oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad, as well as the institutions of prayer, zakat, fasting and pilgrimage. But Iman, or faith, requires belief in God, His angels, books, messengers, the divine destiny of good and evil, and the Day of Judgement. Ihsan, or excellence, is to worship God as though you see Him, knowing that He sees you.

  22. When did president Nasheed started promoting Islamic values. He seems to be saying this 100% muslim nation. Are we? Are you a muslim president?? Your motives are quite clear. Its not human rights, its not about Islam and it not about our values. It is all about you playing heroic infront of US, but by now hopefully you realize we maldivians couldn't care less about what you say let alone beleiving it.

  23. Honorable Mr Nasheed, I am a Maldivian who never believes what u says since at the very beginning. However, I have voted for the CHANGE keeping in mind that you will do our lives better! Just 2 - 3 months later i have started seen ur attitude, direction etc. U are not the one what Maldivians have expected. As u know this is the fact, reality! I am sure u will realize wen people take u out. Face us on 2013!

  24. For arguments sake let's accept that these men are innocent little babies as The President says they are. Would Maldives be the best place to bring these lil angels? This is a country where no one is safe on the streets. People get stabbed in broad day light and in front of the cops! What would happen to image of Maldives if some of these innocent lil pooh-bears were to be stabbed on the street?

    So shouldn't Mr. President first make sure that Maldives is free of gang violence before bringing in such innocent little darlings here?

  25. Of course US Will thank, but who is gonna thank them for what they did to innocent people. They can run but they cant hide. bring it on.... not only two, bring all of them, we will give further training to you and deploy you to the right embassy. God Bless us all. Mr. president tell Americans not to talk about human rights bullshit with you. if they they ask .. you just say to them " look whose talking". tc

  26. Democracy is about transparency. Democracy concerns good governance. Good governance requires transparency. Hence acceptable norm of a good government entails informing the public of its actions and implications of such actions.

    Nonetheless, some aspects of governance and international agreements and understandings may not be made public for the greater good. This is rather significant for dependent countries (such as the Maldives) who barely manage to escape the claws of capitalist colonization.

    Hence, should the opposition cry 'foul play' at each and every deed of the government, where the government does not fully inform the public of the details of its actions, understandings, agreements and implications? I don't think so.

    Transparency is good, but effective governance would not be possible when the government is naked.

  27. @HassanK

    I could say that being you as a MDP zealot you won’t be bothered to make any compromise for MDP and your comments in here witnessed that you are another moron who believe anything what Anni says without any rationalization. This has been the reason why our nation has so much of backlogs over the past decades.

    Let me just clarify you why Americans should accommodate these detainees in US soil.

    Firstly, US has naturalized over one million people in the year 2005. Within these figures, 96000 were immigrants from Muslim countries

    Secondly, these detainees were ill-treated during their detention even when they were not guilty of any charges. Therefore, US should compensate this loss to them when they are being considered as the epitome of human rights.

    Maldives is a small nation with a volatile economy and we have so many problems to sort out beforehand. Also, there is a reason why there are so much of controversies with MDP administration. Lacks of inefficiencies in policy planning and implementation, broken promises are to name a few.

  28. Always good to help someone in need, especially who have been jailed illegally and tortured. Anyone who was in Doonidhoo before will appreciate. Government and President deserve credit for this. US Government is also doing well to try and repair the damage done to them by previous Administration.They have a difficult time with conservative opposition who started the problem.

    Also, Maldivian people should know how much was paid and 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. You can also see there are many many other innocent people including Muslims who need help but Government has not even mentioned because they don't have the money to pay (jailed in Burma and Sudan for example).

    People need to know because many people involved in these discussions have suspect record in taking under the table. Remember “Dr Shaheed's millions”? He may be innocent but there are questions that are not answered. Maybe President does not take any money himself but he seems to encourages others to, exactly like Gayoom. Maybe this is only way he can keep them under control even if he promised to end corruption in his many promises.

    Does everyone agrees that any benefit must come to all the Maldivian people?

    I am little surprised media have not questioned government about this.

  29. i cnt belive tht there are ppl who are so stupid, we ALL know guantanamo bay is one big hell hole where USA takes muslims right out of the streets aftr 9 / 11, we all for a fact know tht thr are many many innocent ppl thr, why are we makin such a fuss on this, i thought helping a fellow muslim was what everyone wud do , now i see tht i was wrong. fuckheads like drp and thr red colord morons will take up anythin to go against the president. its one thing to be against every single thing the government does, its a whole another thing whn u dontt let another MUSLIM brothers a place in out country. as for me um proud of what out government is doing. everyone of us should do what eva we cn to help muslims everywhere in the world, whn thr was hell in gaza strip we helpd the palastinians with what we got , now we hav a chance to really help muslims from another countries,. if we cud i say we take every single innocent person in guantanamo bay!!! thrs no othr choice no othr option on this, we are MUSLIMS, Muslims help each othr, that is what our religoin is about.

  30. and please stop about USA we ALLL know they are Aholes, ofcourse they want to clean up , the thing is , the ppl they hav tourted for years. god knows what they have been through, lets forget abt usa and thr jail, these are human beings. with feelings , are ppl just like us, helping them out shud be our pleasure, isnt tht whatt us maldivians are known for , welcoming guests, helpin ppl. these ppl were mostly in the wrong place at the wrong time. like our brother from maldives who ended up in guantanamo bay. we all have heard abt the ppl who were taken thr without any trail or hearing , laywer or ANYthin, we all hv seen the pictures of hw they were treated. so STFU , i say, thr shudnt be nyone of us who is sayin nythin abt it. to hell with drp , to hel with nihan! i say they shud be given a place in our community

  31. @Mausoom

    From where did you get this theory????? Show me any single book?? These are pure suppositions of you.

  32. This is nothing with fellow Muslims.what president Nasheed wants is some award......
    president Nasheed's government cant control the prisoners in the country itself,how can he take some terrorist???


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