UN rights office urges action to rectify Nasheed’s ‘vastly unfair’ trial

The trial and conviction of former president Mohamed Nasheed was “vastly unfair, arbitrary, and disproportionate,” a senior official at the UN human rights office said yesterday, urging action to resolve a deepening political crisis.

The government, however, remains defiant in the face of growing international and domestic pressure for the release of the opposition leader.

At a UN press briefing in Geneva on Friday, Mona Rishmawi, head of the rule of law, equality and non-discrimination branch, said Nasheed’s 19-day trial was politically motivated and his conviction was reached by judges wielding “incredible discretionary powers.”

“We kind of started to get signals that even the government recognises that something went wrong with the process of the trial,” she was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“We would like to see this translate into concrete political action and see something happening in this case…What is very clear is that the president still has clemency powers.”

Rishmawi visited the Maldives from April 20 to 23 as head of a delegation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to “examine the broader issues” related to Nasheed’s case.

However, foreign minister Dunya Maumoon told the state broadcaster yesterday that the government will not comply with demands from foreign governments to “meddle” with the judiciary and release a convict.

The European parliament adopted a resolution last week calling on the government to release Nasheed and urged member states to issue warnings on the Maldives’ human rights record on their travel advice websites.

Nasheed’s international lawyers are also seeking a judgment from the UN working group on arbitrary detention declaring his incarceration illegal.

Dunya reportedly said the Maldives would become “enslaved” and lose its independence if the government accepted the demands.

The foreign governments do not wish well for the Maldives, Dunya said, and called on the public to protect the country’s institutions, independence, and sovereignty.

After meetings with officials from the government and the judiciary as well as members of civil society organisations, the UN delegation found that the prosecutor general and judges have “excessive discretionary powers” in the absence of criminal justice procedures and evidence laws, according to a press briefing note from the UN rights office.

Rishmawi noted that lesser charges against Nasheed over the January 2012 military detention of criminal court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed had been withdrawn shortly before his arrest in February.

Nasheed “learnt about the new charge under the Terrorism Act only upon his arrest.”

He was found guilty on March 13 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The criminal court denied Nasheed “the possibility to prepare and present adequate defence, including calling defence witnesses, and examining the evidence against him.”

“What we saw is that the rules have been really changed to lead to a certain result,” she said.

The discretionary powers do not work for the benefit of a fair trial, which she said was the main issue at stake and suggested that “international pressure could help fix flaws” in the judiciary.

The briefing note added that the Maldivian judiciary is “is perceived as politicised, inadequate and subject to external influence” and referred to the convictions of former defence ministers Mohamed Nazim and Tholhath Ibrahim, who also “received disproportionate sentences in a flawed trials.”

The UN human rights office urged the government to ensure an environment conducive for political dialogue, allow the exercise of the rights of free expression and assembly, and ensure Nasheed’s safety in custody.

Rishmawi met the former president in a “temporary location” before he was transferred to the high-security Maafushi jail, and described Nasheed as thoughtful and humorous.

“But I wouldn’t say he was relaxed. He knew he was facing 13 years in prison and he knew that his situation is really really difficult and he worried a lot about his safety,” she said.

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Maldives human rights situation ‘rapidly deteriorating’

The human rights situation in the Maldives is “rapidly deteriorating” with the government cracking down on peaceful protests, stifling dissent, and imprisoning opposition politicians, Amnesty International has said.

A delegation from the international human rights organisation conducted a fact-finding mission in the Maldives from April 17 to 22 and released a briefing report titled ‘Assault on civil and political rights’ today.

“There’s a climate of fear spreading in the Maldives, as safeguards on human rights are increasingly eroded. The authorities have a growing track record of silencing critical voices by any means necessary – be it through the police, the judicial system, or outright threats and harassment. This must end immediately,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives researcher, after launching the briefing at a press conference in New Delhi, India.

“The international community must wake up and realise that behind the façade of a tourist paradise, there is a dark trend in the Maldives where the human rights situation is rapidly deteriorating.”

Raghu Menon, Amnesty International India’s advocacy coordinator, who was part of the fact-finding mission, said India as a regional power “has a responsibility to work towards a human rights-friendly environment in the Maldives.”

The delegation also sought meetings with government officials this week, but were offered meetings in May.

President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told Minivan News today that he did not wish to comment on the report.

“The government has invited various international organisations. So they will come and reveal [information about] their work. The government does not have to respond to each report. The government will take the initiative and respond in cases where it believes it has to,” he said.

The delegation also requested a visit to the Dhoonidhoo detention centre to meet former president Mohamed Nasheed and other detainees, but the foreign ministry offered to facilitate a visit in May.

Faiz meanwhile called on the government to “immediately end its disturbing crackdown on human rights.”

“Political tensions are already at a boiling point, and further harassment and attacks on those opposing the authorities will only make the situation spiral out of control,” he warned.

“The international community cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in the Maldives. The upcoming UN [Universal Period Review] session in Geneva in May is a key moment to push the Maldives authorities to immediately take concrete action to improve the country’s human rights situation.”

Crackdown

Amnesty said the government was “abusing the judicial system” to imprison political opponents, including opposition leader Nasheed, ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim, and former ruling party MP Ahmed Nazim.

“Mohamed Nasheed’s imprisonment came after a sham trial, but he is far from the only one locked up on trumped-up charges and after unfair trials. It is disturbing how far the Maldives government has co-opted the judiciary as a tool to cement its own hold on power,” said Faiz.

Amnesty also noted that at least 140 people have been arrested from opposition protests since February, with the court releasing several protesters on the condition that they do not attend protests for 30 to 60 days.

The opposition, human rights NGOS, and the prosecutor general have said the condition is unconstitutional as freedom of assembly is a fundamental right.

“Additionally, police have imposed far-ranging restrictions on where and when protests in the Maldives capital Male can take place,” Amnesty said.

“Demonstrations are only allowed in certain areas far away from official buildings, contrary to international law and standards.”

The briefing also noted increasing threats and attacks against journalists, civil society organisations, and human rights defenders, adding that police have not “meaningfully” investigated threatening text messages or phone calls.

Amnesty said that “vigilante religious groups allegedly in cahoots with the police have in recent years stepped up kidnappings and attacks on social gatherings, in particular against those accused of promoting ‘atheism.'”

“This year, such gangs have in connivance with police attacked peaceful demonstrators, yet no one has been brought to justice for these attacks.”

The briefing also noted that the Supreme Court last year charged the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) with “high treason and undermining the constitution” following the state watchdog’s submission on the state of human rights in the Maldives to the UPR.

Meanwhile, in an op-ed published on The New York Times this week, Mariyam Shiuna, executive director of local NGO Transparency Maldives, observed that “political persecution has intensified, civil society is silenced and media intimidation has become the norm.”

“The international community needs to put pressure on the government to halt its crackdown on opponents and dissidents from all parts of the political sphere. Without basic freedoms and space for dissent the Maldives is slipping back to the dark days of dictatorship,” she wrote.

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State company uproots tree planted by ex-president Nasheed

Officials of the government’s road corporation on Monday night uprooted and burned a tree planted by ex-president Mohamed Nasheed in Thaa atoll Vilufushi.

Vilufushi island councillor Hussain Jabeen, a member of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), was later arrested for allegedly threatening employees of the corporation over the incident.

Vilufushi councillor Ibrahim Shafiu told Minivan News that officials from the island subdivision of the Maldives Road Development Cooperation (MRDC) uprooted the tree around 12:00pm on Monday, claiming it was impeding road construction.

“Usually when they uproot trees from the green area they ask for our permission and for where else to keep them. This time they did not say anything before uprooting the tree and burning it at the garbage dump,” said Shafiu.

The incident comes in a highly charged political environment with the opposition alliance gearing up for a mass anti-government rally on May 1.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail on terrorism charges last month.

The opposition-dominated Vilufushi island council has also put out a statement condemning the act as “uncivilised and cowardly.”

Shafiu accused the road corporation employees of targeting the tree planted by the then-president Nasheed during a visit in April 2011, noting that other trees at the green zone have not been uprooted.

However, Ahmed Mamdhooh, deputy manager of the MRDC, told Minivan News that the council gave approval for uprooting trees ahead of laying tar for the road construction project.

Island councillor Jabeen was meanwhile arrested with a court warrant after midnight on Tuesday. He was accused of damaging iron rods on the road development site and verbally abusing and threatening the corporation’s employees.

Jabeen was taken to the police station on the nearby island of Madifushi and later brought before a magistrate for extension of remand detention.

However, the magistrate court released the island council president from police custody.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Jabeen denied the allegations, saying he politely spoke to management officials and objected to the uprooting of a tree planted by a former president.

He also said the council alone cannot authorise removal of trees and that the road corporation had to seek permission from the land survey authority as well.

Councillor Shafiu also said he went with Jabeen on Monday to meet the corporation’s senior staff, who refused to meet the councillors.

The pair then went to the road development site, sought out the manager, and asked for an explanation, he continued, but were told that the management officials were unaware of the incident.

Jabeen said the tree had been targeted before by pro-government supporters.

“Even in the past people have thrown petrol on the tree and cut off the branches, but it grows back each time,” he said.

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Chief judge praises criminal court over Nasheed’s trial

Chief judge Abdulla Mohamed has praised judges and staff at the criminal court for the swift conclusion of former president Mohamed Nasheed’s terrorism trial which related to the judge’s arrest in 2012.

The criminal court handed Nasheed a 13-year jail term, sparking international outrage and daily protests across the country.

“The Maldivian military was brought to alert, tents set up at the justice building, scan machines were kept, and the whole country was brought to alert,” Judge Abdulla was quoted as saying by local media.

“A three-judge panel was formed, and a verdict was delivered in 19 days by criminal court judges and staff in a case that couldn’t be concluded in three years,” the chief judge said at a function held last night to mark the court’s anniversary.

Nasheed’s rushed trial was widely criticised by foreign governments, the UN, and Amnesty International for its apparent lack of due process.

Judge Abdulla meanwhile said criminal court judges and staff were awake at night and during weekends while the rest of the judiciary was asleep.

The court proved that the “judiciary is awake” after “matters reached the state where some people believed the judiciary was incapable.”

In addition to Nasheed, his defence minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, then-chief of defence forces Moosa Ali Jaleel, then-Malé Area Commander Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, and ex-colonel Mohamed Ziyad were charged with terrorism over the judge’s arrest.

Tholhath was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Nasheed has meanwhile accused Judge Abdulla of involvement in a “contract killing,” and said he had blocked an investigation into his misconduct by the judicial watchdog, and obstructed the police from carrying out their duties.

Judge Abdulla last night also said unlawful arrests by the state have not come to an end, despite six years passing after the adoption of the 2008 constitution.

Seven cases of unlawful detention were submitted to the court last year, he said.

Judge Abdulla said last year’s cases of unlawful arrest included four expatriates suing the immigration department, and one expatriate suing the police. In addition, three Maldivians sued police and the correctional services.

He also referred to the arrest of then-MP Abdulla Yameen and MP Gasim Ibrahim in 2010.

“There’s no doubt that these matters will become a lesson in Maldivian history,” judge Abdulla reportedly said.

He called for more benefits and additional security to criminal court judges.

Lack of space and facilities at the court posed difficulties in providing lawyers access to their clients and the ability to study case documents, the chief judge said.

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Nasheed denied access to international lawyers

The police have denied jailed former President Mohamed Nasheed’s requests to contact his international legal team, stating they must first register with the attorney general’s office.

The opposition leader was sentenced to 13 years in jail last month on terrorism charges in a trial heavily criticised by foreign governments, the UN and Amnesty International for its apparent lack of due process.

Nasheed’s international legal team is made up of heavyweight human rights lawyers including Amal Clooney, who has advised the UN and is the wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney, Jared Genser, the founder of renowned campaign group for political prisoners Freedom Now and Ben Emmerson QC, a former UN rights chief on counter terrorism.

The international team is to push for Nasheed’s “freedom from arbitrary detention” through international lobbying mechanisms such as the UN working group on arbitrary detention, the opposition leader’s domestic legal team has said.

The working group’s decision on Nasheed’s detention will affect the international community’s policies towards the Maldives and will inform decisions on possible sanctions, lawyers said.

Speaking to the press today, Nasheed’s lawyer Hassan Latheef said Nasheed had met with a representative from the Commonwealth yesterday.

However, the former president refused to speak about his trial with the British judge Peter Beaumont CBE QC, stating an additional inquiry into his trial will serve no purpose.

“President Nasheed told the delegation he does not believe the commonwealth needs to do an additional inquiry into the Maldivian judiciary. He said the Commonwealth knows very well the state of the Maldivian judiciary and its courts, and so there is no meaning to do an additional report into his trial,” Hassan said.

Nasheed requested the Commonwealth’s aid in reforming the Maldives’ system of governance and criticised the government’s jailing of rivals, including himself and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim.

The result of the Commonwealth-backed inquiry into the 2012 transfer of power had undermined both the government and the opposition’s trust in the organisation, Nasheed reportedly said.

The inquiry was established after Nasheed claimed he had been forced to resign in a coup d’état following a military and police mutiny. But the commission’s report found the transfer of power to be lawful and said there was no mutiny.

Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon in February reacted harshly to Commonwealth criticism of Nasheed’s prosecution, stating the organisation had “wronged us in the past and you are still mistreating us.”

But with growing international criticism of the trial and sentence, the government invited representatives from the Commonwealth and EU to observe an appeal process.

However, Nasheed has refused to file an appeal, instead appealing to President Abdulla Yameen for a political solution. His supporters have called on President Yameen to release the former president by exercising powers granted in the clemency law.

The opposition has been protesting daily for two months over Nasheed’s arrest and imprisonment.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said Nasheed’s international lawyers were planning a visit to the Maldives. This is incorrect. Minivan News apologizes to its readers for the mistake.

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Divers plan underwater protest for Nasheed release

One hundred divers will wave flags underwater in protest against the jailing of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed on Saturday.

The dive, entitled “Free Climate Hero”, will take place near the West Park Cafe area of the capital on Saturday from 4pm to 6pm.

“You will see flags coming out of the water,” said said Hussein Latheef, a lead organiser of the event, according to Haveeru.

The dive protest is the latest in a series of events aiming to lobby for Nasheed’s release since he was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges last month.

During his presidency, from 2008 to 2012, Nasheed was an active climate campaigner, highlighting the plight of the Maldives as a small island state vulnerable to rising sea levels.

In 2009 his cabinet made headlines by holding an underwater cabinet meeting calling for global cuts in carbon emissions.

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High Court says Nasheed can still appeal

Former president Mohamed Nasheed can still appeal a 13-year terrorism conviction at the High Court despite the end of the 10-day appeal period, the court says.

However, Nasheed’s lawyers say they believe they have no legal route through which to launch an appeal, and the ex-leader’s only hope for release is a clemency procedure initiated by the president.

The legal team says Nasheed is seeking a political solution involving President Abdulla Yameen, saying he has no faith in the judicial system to treat his case fairly.

Nasheed’s conviction last month was met with outrage from the opposition, which has been holding daily protests, while his trial was heavily criticised by several international bodies.

Late appeals

High Court judges are authorized to accept a late appeal if a “reasonable justification” is given, court media official Ameen Faisal said.

These include the lower court’s failure to provide detailed reports into court proceedings on time, as had happened in Nasheed’s case.

However, a lawyer on Nasheed’s team says there is no legal avenue to file an appeal, because the Supreme Court has removed the High Court’s discretionary power to accept late appeals.

This change was made in the same January ruling that shortened a 90-day appeal period to 10 days, shortly before Nasheed’s trial.

Only President Abdulla Yameen can now resolve the impasse, Nasheed’s lawyer Ibrahim Riffath said. The president can reduce Nasheed’s sentence through special powers granted in the Clemency Act.

In January, the Supreme Court voided Article 42 of the Judicature Act which set out appeal deadlines and gave judges discretionary powers in accepting late appeals.

The 90–180 day appeal period obstructed justice, the Supreme Court said. A new 10-day appeal period was set out, but the apex court was silent on procedures for late appeals.

Riffath said the High Court must now seek the Supreme Court’s instruction before accepting an appeal.

Political solution?

In any case, Nasheed’s team on March 19 announced that the former president desired a political solution and would not seek an appeal, stating he had no faith in the judiciary.

His lawyers believe such an appeal would inevitably fail, because they do not believe the High Court judges to be independent.

Six of the nine High Court judges are to be relocated to two new High Court branches with reduced powers in the north and south. The government-controlled judicial watchdog has not yet decided which judges will be relocated, and the threat of this demotion has silenced the judges, Nasheed’s lawyers believe.

President’s spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali last week suggested President Yameen could consider granting a pardon if Nasheed asked for it, saying the office had not received a letter yet.

But Riffath said the normal clemency procedures do not apply in Nasheed’s case, as the president cannot pardon offences relating to terrorism. However, the president on his own initiative could reduce sentences or postpone them indefinitely under special procedures listed in Article 29 of the Clemency Act.

Article 29 states that the president can reduce sentences depending on the age, health or special circumstances of the convict.

Yameen has so far insisted that the court process is independent from his government and that he is not personally involved.

Daily protests are ongoing across the Maldives, and opposition leaders last Thursday reiterated calls for President Yameen to initiate talks.

The government last week stripped Nasheed of membership of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, by using its parliamentary majority to pass a law banning prisoners from political party membership.

Separately, the ruling PPM has also submitted an amendment to the law on privileges for former presidents stripping any president who resigned – as Nasheed did, although he said it was under duress – from army protection and financial privileges.

Nasheed was convicted in a trial condemned by the UN, Amnesty International and the EU, US and UK over lack of due process. Amnesty called the trial a travesty of justice, while the UN said it made a mockery of the constitution and international treaties.

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Comment: The darkest hour is just before the dawn

Latheefa Ahmed Verall is former President Mohamed Nasheed’s maternal aunt

I was twenty-eight when Maumoon Abdul Gayoom became the president of the Maldives. President Nasir had been demonised and vilified, and a saviour, like a shining beacon of virtue from the deep, ancient bowels of Al- Azhar had appeared. He came in trailing clouds of glory that was Islamic scholarship. I was simply bowled over – to use a phrase that he and I probably share as lovers of cricket!

The year 1978 was an auspicious year for us both. I was expecting my first child; he was starting on his life’s work as the longest ruling dictator of Asia. Our paths never crossed of course because he was in the business of silencing public dissent in a frenzy of torture and authoritarian heavy handedness, while miles away in New Zealand, I was in the business of teaching my students and eventually my own children, the importance of asking the question ‘why’.

I want to talk to you, the readers of this website and also to others in our extremely divided nation, so that you may open your minds enough to listen to the reason why we must never, never give up striving for our rights. Get over the fact that I am [former President Mohamed] Nasheed’s aunt, get over the fact I live over eleven thousand kilometres away. I am 65 years old and smart enough to separate what I want for my nephew and what I want for my country. They are two different things. This is for my country.

For those people who question my right to voice these concerns, I have this to say. My generation in the Maldives had no voice. We did not have the know-how or the belief that we could stand up to what was unfair, corrupt or unjust. Most of us, particularly women, believed that life was about accepting the status quo, being obedient, humble and respectful towards authority and power. That was the world-view we held and we strived to live ’good’ lives within it. We forgot to ask the question why things were the way they were.

When I saw the pictures of Evan Naseem, his dead body beaten and bruised, his hair matted in his own blood, I realised this was an atrocity that had been years in the making. This lack of respect for human life and dignity had its roots years before 2003. My generation had allowed the regime to come to that point of inhumanity because of our impotency and lack of action. I wept as the words, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” resonated in me. I have never forgotten their significance.

Our impotency came in many guises: we thought bowing down to authority, however unfair, was part of our heritage, we thought it was what our religion demanded of us, we assumed that deference was owed to a ruler simply because he was the ruler and finally we feared that the regime was too powerful to be affected by our concerns.

Today, the imprisonment of Nasheed and the unleashing of the regime’s vendetta on any who disagreed with their Grand Design, are natural progressions for a group of people who had always dealt with problems in a predictable and unimaginative way. They have no answers other than sheer brutality. But now, we the people, no longer find this acceptable. We are no longer prepared to consider it the norm. Those early activists and opposition supporters have helped liberate us all. And all of us working together have finally brought the eyes of the world on the Yameen/Maumoon regime.

[President Abdulla] Yameen, with the same lack of imagination, is following in his brother’s footsteps, and the prisons are once again filling up with their opponents. The events of the last few months scream out the desperation of a group that has once again run out of options: an ex-president jailed by a regime-controlled judiciary who, because of their incompetence and the political pressure of their masters, turned Nasheed’s trial into a farce, a defence minister sentenced for terrorism because of insurmountable differences and divisions in their own dog eat dog cabinet, a predictable falling out with their rich coalition partner who facilitated the regime’s return to power and is currently kept impotent by the threat of financial ruin and finally the country spurned by all freedom loving citizens of the world. Their solution: to move towards a state of emergency because they cannot control the citizenry other than by force.

This mounting opposition to the regime makes it abundantly clear that this is not Nasheed’s fight alone. He is not the only one to suffer brutality and injustice. Under this regime, to various degrees, we have all been within prison walls and we have all suffered from huge injustices. And our fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and friends have been affected by this cancer that has destroyed the very soul of the country which we hold dear to our hearts.

I am a student of history and I know that in any great struggle between the forces of tradition and modernity or the rights and wellbeing of all people and the greed of the few, the hardest time is when we feel that fortune has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. With Nasheed in prison, the regime in control of the judiciary so that they can dish out their malice willy-nilly, and the police high on testosterone, it may appear that our objectives are all but unattainable.

But life’s great lesson is that this is exactly the time for us to view our achievements and persevere in the face of adversity. The darkest time is always before the dawn. This is the time to have faith in our ability and not give up. This is the time to increase our resolve, increase our determination and increase our action.

Why?

Unlike my generation, today’s Maldivians are not incapacitated by years of tradition and social isolation. The question ‘why’ has been asked. People have dared. And more than that, we have several leaders in prison and this may well be a positive turning point, as for the first time, the eyes of the world are turned on the Maldives as never before. The time is ripe for our action, to actively insist that we do not want a future of brutality and suppression.

The regime believes that by imprisoning Nasheed and other leaders they can curb the move towards democracy and return to the good old days of untrammelled power. But these arrests give all of us the unheralded power to break this regime. We can prove them wrong. They can continue to imprison people, but they cannot suppress an idea. They cannot imprison or beat an ideal.

The time to unhinge this crumbling, ancient relic of a regime is now. This is our time to act.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]

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Maldives will “emerge victorious over adversarial states,” says President Yameen

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.


Related to this story:

Nasheed’s terrorism trial “a mockery” of Constitution, verdict “may have been pre-determined,” says Knaul

UN human rights chief expresses strong concern over “hasty and apparently unfair” Nasheed trial

US, EU, and UK concerned over lack of due process in Nasheed trial

Respect Criminal Court verdict, says President Yameen

Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Foreigners cannot meddle in domestic affairs, declares President Yameen

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