President commutes sentences of 24 inmates

President Abdulla Yameen has commuted the sentences of 24 inmates under the authority vested in the president by the Clemency Act of 2010.

According to a President’s Office statement, sentences were commuted based on the inmate’s age; time spent under house arrest, jail, or banishment; medical condition; and discipline. Conditions were attached to the commutation, the statement said.

The president considered the following criteria in commuting sentences:

  • Inmates must not have committed a disciplinary offense in the past two years
  • Inmates must not have received an presidential pardon or commutation of sentence, or drug rehabilitation through the Drug Court or been granted parole in the past five years
  • Inmates must not have been sentenced in 2013

Individuals who were convicted of murder, terrorism, disturbing the peace – including attacking or threatening a security officer or vandalising public property, child abuse, rape, homosexuality, drug trafficking involving an amount more than four grams, or a hadd crime were not considered, the statement said.

The president did not include anyone that could be determined as dangerous to the society. Yameen will grant clemency to an additional group of convicts on April 1, the statement said.

Article 115 of the constitution states that the president has the authority “to grant pardons or reductions of sentence as provided by law, to persons convicted of a criminal offence who have no further right of appeal.”

On January 9, police cleared the police records of 1,023 young persons who were arrested for various criminal offenses, as part of the government’s pledge to facilitate youth employment.

At the time, Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed urged all young persons to make the best out of this “golden opportunity” and to leave the crime environment and become useful individuals to society.

In March 2012, current Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed shut down former President Mohamed Nasheed’s flagship Second Chance program set up to reintegrate convicts into society.

Jameel, who was Home Minister at the time, said that Nasheed’s administration had used the program “to release unqualified criminals under political influence and without any clear procedure “.