The Maldives will “emerge victorious over adversarial states,” President Abdulla Yameen has declared, slamming alleged foreign interference in domestic affairs following the conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges.
Addressing supporters at a Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) rally last night, President Yameen reiterated that exercising authority over either the Prosecutor General or the judiciary would threaten constitutional separation of powers.
“God willing, God Almighty will grant us just rulers. And God will grant our state the courage to remain steadfast in Islam and the guidance of Islam. And God willing, we will emerge victorious over adversarial states,” Yameen concluded his remarks by saying.
“We are on the righteous path. We will not go astray. God willing, no matter how small, this Maldivian state will have the courage to hold fast to Islamic guidance.”
President Yameen’s remarks follow international concern over the lack of due process in the rushed trial of the opposition leader. Nasheed was found guilty of ordering the military to “forcibly abduct” Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Lawyers and Judges Gabriela Knaul last week urged the Maldives to guarantee that Nasheed’s appeal would respect the most stringent fair trial and due process standards.
Yameen went on to say that other countries believed the Maldives does not enforce the law, “but we are telling those states that the law is enforced in the Maldives the same as it is in those states.”
Cases were tried through independent courts and sentences were implemented after an appeal process, he added.
Trials should be conducted swiftly to ensure justice, he continued, claiming that terrorism cases involving up to 1,500 defendants were completed in 48 hours in England.
“We don’t go criticising the mechanisms there. And we don’t request getting into the courtrooms there,” he said.
“But when it’s the Maldives, because we are a small country, [they] want to meddle in everything we do. No. That day is in the past. The Maldives, this Maldivian state, will no longer give room for that.”
By calling on the president to release Nasheed, Yameen said both the opposition and foreign parties were inviting the president to commit an “impeachable offence”.
The president was not responsible for either the PG’s decision to prosecute or the court’s verdict, he said.
Exercising oversight over the PG was the task of parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, he continued, questioning why opposition MPs have not summoned the PG so far.
The president ordering the PG not to prosecute or withdraw charges in a specific case would amount to “obstruction of justice” and violation of the constitution, Yameen said.
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