Nasheed wishes mercy for his jailers: “In this time of profound injustice, I harbour no hatred.”

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, sentenced to 13 years in jail in a trial many observers have called a travesty of justice, has issued a statement wishing mercy on his jailers.

“In this time of profound injustice, I harbour no hatred. And to those who seek to destroy me, I say: I wish upon you good grace and blessings,” the opposition leader said last night.

Nasheed was convicted of ordering the January 2012 military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union have expressed concern with the lack of due process, while Amnesty International said Nasheed’s sentencing “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

The Criminal Court denied Nasheed bail on February 23 at a first hearing without legal representation. The three-judge panel at subsequent hearings dismissed Nasheed’s repeated requests for additional time to prepare a defence and refused to call the defence’s witnesses claiming they do not appear to negate the prosecution’s evidence.

The three-judge panel also included two judges who had acted as witnesses in an earlier investigation into Judge Abdulla’s arrest.

In his statement, Nasheed called for mass protests against President Abdulla Yameen’s regime and appealed to supporters to remain courageous and strong.

“The Maldivian judiciary is full of corruption and disgrace. Judges are routinely accepting the vile money of bribery. These judges have no fear of the day of judgment, and no shame in this world. The consequence of their actions is injustice to the public and the thwarting of this country’s development,” the former president said.

Nasheed was the Maldives’ first democratically elected president.

“Why am I calling for such a sacrifice? Know this for sure: it is not for my own well being . I am not staying in jail, a captive, because I have no way out. I could easily secure my freedom and happiness by agreeing to stop the work I am doing, and falling at President Yameen’s feet. I could choose to live in riches, in comfort, and in joy. But if I choose that path, Maldivians will reach a tragic end. Maldivians will be deprived of what they rightfully deserve: freedom, dignity and democracy. They will never be allowed to stand tall. Forever, they will be forced to cower before this dictatorial regime.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked 22 consecutive nights of violent anti-government demonstrations that culminated in a police and military mutiny on the morning of February 7, 2012, forcing Nasheed to resign in what he subsequently called a “coup d’etat.”

Delivering the guilty verdict, Judge Abdulla Didi said the prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nasheed as commander-in-chief ordered the arrest or “forceful abduction” of Judge Abdulla.

When provided with the opportunity to present concluding statements at an initial hearing at 9:15pm, Nasheed once again asked for legal counsel and additional time.

“My incarceration in Dhoonidhoo Jail prevents me from communicating with my lawyers. They are unable to provide me with the legal counsel I require. They were not provided with the prosecution’s evidence for review, adequate means for communication, or internet services. There were no arrangements for us to sit together to prepare legal documents,” he told the court.

“My lawyers quit, because they were unable to afford me the legal counsel necessary for a free and fair trial. They quit stating that the three of you judges are unjust in how you conduct this trial. In this situation, I am unable to prepare concluding statements. I can only prepare such a statement only when I am freed from this situation, if I am transferred to Malé and given sufficient time for preparation.”

However, reading out the guilty verdict at 11:15pm, presiding Judge Abdulla Didi insisted Nasheed had been afforded adequate to prepare defence, arguing case documents had been provided three years ago when the former president was initially charged.

Nasheed was first charged in 2012 with arbitrary detention under article 81 of the penal code, which carries either banishment or a jail term of up to three years.

On February 15, Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin withdrew the charges filed at the Hulhumalé Magistrate Court. Nasheed was arrested on February 22 shortly after the PG filed terrorism charges at the Criminal Court.

Judge Didi also said Nasheed had refused to make use of a phone call to appoint new lawyers when all four of his lawyers quit.

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali today said the government will ensure former President Mohamed Nasheed’s right to appeal his conviction on terrorism charges if he believes the Criminal Court did not follow due process.

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Media needs to introduce “peace journalism”: MP Nasheed

Former Legal Reform Minister MP Mohamed Nasheed has recommended Maldives-based journalists introduce “peace reporting” in order to stop violence against local media.

Nasheed claimed that the Maldives media is exploited by politicians to a great extent and that reporters needed to start looking at the similarities between politicians as opposed to their differences, the Sun Online news agency reported.

The Kulhudhuffushi-south MP told local media that a new kind of “peace journalism” should be introduced into the system as the level of rivalry, anger and hatred that exists in the Maldives is too much for people to endure.

“One thing journalists can do is introduce peace journalism, promote peace journalism.

“Instead of making a big deal out of the differences between two people, and spreading information about those differences in the society – they could present the similarities. We should go for peaceful journalism,” Nasheed was quoted as saying in local media.

Nasheed claimed that political leaders prepare quotations in certain ways in order to make the headlines and therefore exploit journalists.

“There is a limit even to political influence. There is a limit to how much journalists can be exploited to obtain political advantages.

“If all journalists unite and establish certain policies, politicians will have no choice but to follow those policies,” Nasheed told Sun Online.


Maldives “on the tip of a dark cloud of hatred”, warns Sheikh Fareed

Prominent religious scholar Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed has given a sermon denouncing Friday’s planned protest, on the grounds that “it will be the blood of fellow Muslim brothers flowing down the roads.”

Islam did not preach unrest and violence, Sheikh Fareed said, and it was not honoring Islam if Muslims should clash with Muslims in the name of protecting it.

He said that the Maldives was currently “on the tip of a dark cloud of hatred”, and warned about aggressive activities that might take place during the December 23 event, calling on people not to destroy property, or damage the sanctity and good name of another Muslim.

Sheikh Fareed referred to 2;11,12 of the Quran which states: ‘’ When it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “Why, we only Want to make peace!” Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not.’’

According to Sheikh Fareed, Anas Radi allah Anha narrated that the Prophet [PBUH] said ‘’Be patient, there will come a time, where the time that comes after that time will be worse than the other, until you shall meet your god [judgement day].’’

He called not to give space for disputes and to try and make peace instead, and called for people to “protect our wives and children from danger rather than feeding wood to a burning fire.”

He said that everyone will have to be accountable to Allah, and reminded that there were two angels that keep writing all good and bad deeds including the words we say.

Sheikh Fareed said that this life was not eternal and that everyone has to believe that “we might have close our eyes for the last time at any moment.”

‘’Then comes the time you feel bad about how you lived and start crying, although you did not want to leave you had to. Then you will be amazed of the persons that come to question you. Indeed, with a strong voice they will question you,’’ Shaiekh Fareed said. ‘’The persons that encouraged you to destroy people’s property and to damage the good name of others will not be there.’’

He added that the deeds people committed in this world “will be the only thing they will have.”

Sheikh Fared further said it was regrettable to hear of the news that two Muslim groups were to confront with each other.