Jumhoory Party MP Muthalib attacked on Thinadhoo

Jumhoory Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib has accused Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists of attacking him while he arrived on Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll to meet the Atoll Council.

”When I arrived was this group of MDP activists, they followed me as I walked to towards the Atoll Council Office,” Muthalib said. ”I did not say anything or respond to them, but then they hit me in the eye and my spectacles fell to the ground and broke.”

Muthalib said he then turned back and walked towards his speedboat to leave the island, and again someone hit him in the mouth and stomach.

”I could not eat anything since last night, my jaw hurts,” he said. ”It is most inconvenient and it is most unacceptable.”

He said MDP activists had planned to attack him for a few days now.

”That is typical of MDP activists, they assault and have no democratic manners,” he said. ”Everyone has the freedom to travel from one place to another.”

The MDP Parliamentary Group’s former spokesperson MP Ahmed Shifaz told Minivan News that he regretted the incident.

”I will not say they were MDP or DRP activists, but it is regrettable,” Shifaz said. ”MDP does not encourage such actions.”

He said he “does not believe that MDP activists would do something like that.”


Parliament accepts amendment to Clemency Act to uphold death sentences

Parliament today accepted the amendment presented by Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib which requires the death sentence be implemented as execution if the Supreme Court upholds a death sentence issued by a lower court or if the Supreme Court itself issues a death sentence.

Out of the 59 present MPs there were 14 MPs who declined the amendment and three MPs that did not vote on either side.

MDP MPs Alhan Fahmy, Eva Abdulla, Hamid Abdul Gafoor, ‘Reeco’ Moosa Manik, Ilyas Labeeb, Imthiyaz Fahmy, Ibrahim Rasheed, Rugiyya Mohamed, Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed, Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Aslam, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and DRP MPs Ali Azim and Hussein Mohamed voted to dismiss the amendment.

Meanwhile MDP MPs Ahmed Easa, Ahmed Hamza and Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed were the three that did not vote on either side.

If the amendment is passed the president will not have the authority to grant clemency on those sentenced to death and law enforcing agencies will be left with no other choice but to execute those sentenced to death.

Statistics from the Criminal Court show that over the past 10 years, it has sentenced 14 persons to death which have not implemented. Police later arrested them for committing other offenses.

Before Muthalib presented this amendment, Maldivian Democratic Party MP Ibrahim Rasheed who also voted to dismiss the bill today presented the same bill weeks ago and withdrew it in the last minutes.

Rasheed said he will present the bill after some belated bills in the parliament were passed.

When presenting the amendment Muthalib said the objective of the amendment was to uphold Islamic Sharia in the Maldives.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Justice Procedure Bill presented by MDP Parliamentary Group leader Moosa Manik was approved by the parliament recently and has been sent to the National Security Committee to review.

The Maldivian judicial system defers to Islamic Shar’ia law in cases where existing laws and regulation are found not to apply. In an interview with Minivan News in 2008, Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari claimed that three crimes punishable by death under Islamic Shar’ia were murder, adultery (by those already married) and apostasy.

Critics of the amendment have pointed to the state of the judiciary as a reason for delaying the bill, with one judge last week acknowledging that 31 serving judges had criminal records. The judiciary has also been criticised by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), which questioned the independence of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

The last person be judicially executed in the Maldives was Hakim Didi in 1953, who was executed by firing squad after being found guilty of consipiracy to murder using black magic.


MP Muthalib reissues death sentence amendment to parliament

Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib has resubmitted an amendment to the Clemency Act that if passed would require any death sentence then upheld by the Supreme Court to be carried out.

Muthalib is the second MP to table a motion to change the Clemency Act after the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Ahmed Rasheed last month forwarded similar amendments.  Rasheed later withdrew these amendments from parliament though over concerns about the need for new regulations like the Penal Code to be passed.

Currently, death penalties imposed within the Maldives are able to be reduced to a 25 years prison sentence by the president under the Clemency Act. In November 2010, the Criminal Court of the Maldives issued a death sentence to a person found guilty of murder. However the last person to actually be judicially executed was Hakim Didi in 1953, who was executed by firing squad after being found guilty of consipiracy to murder using black magic.

MP Muthalib told Minivan News that the purpose of the latest amendment was to uphold Islamic Shariah in the Maldives.

”[The amendment aims] to avoid human beings from changing the verdict determined by Islamic Shariah,” said Muthalib. ”Its the same bill as presented last time.”

If the amendment gets passed, the president would not then have the authority to grant clemency on persons found guilty of murder, according to the parliamentarian.

The amended bill has been introduced in the parliament and now awaits a preliminary debate by members.

Early last month, MDP MP Ahmed Rasheed presented an amendment to the Clemency Act during a parliamentary session that required the death penalty to be administered without fail in cases where the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

According to MP Rasheed’s proposed amendment, if the Supreme Court upholds a death penalty ruled by any court in the land,  a sentence of execution will be required to be conducted.

The MP said he felt he had to present the amendment because of the increase in assaults and murder cases, which had “forced the living to live amid fear and threats.

In 2010, Rasheed said that 423 cases of assault were sent to Prosecutor General, with 454 cases in 2009 and 104 reported during 2008.

After the preliminary debate was concluded and he was given the opportunity to say the last word on the amendment, Rasheed withdrew the changes he had originally submitted to parliament.

The MDP MP said he withdrew the amendment because other necessary bills related to gang violence such as the Penal Code and Criminal Justice Procedure Bill had yet to be passed.

According to Rasheed, after these bills were passed, he will then re-submit the amendment.


Muthalib: “100 percent sure no-confidence motion against Education Minister will succeed”

A no-confidence motion against Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy has put on parliament’s agenda for June 30, after the motion was put forward by Independent MP Ibrahim Muthalib.

Muthalib said that “by divine will” he was “100 percent sure the motion will succeed if the vote is taken.”

”We [and the MPs who signed the petition] forwarded the no-confidence motion because of many concerns we had,” said Muthalib, adding that he did “not want to talk further on the issue yet.”

Dr Luthfy has come under heavy criticism, extending to protests outside his home, after the ministry’s steering committee suggested that the subjects Islam and Dhivehi be made optional at A-Level.

Muthalib has also claimed that Dr Luthfy had told him that students of Arabbiya School, which was shut down after a wall collapsed, would be transferred to other schools.

Dr Luthfy told Minivan News that demolition work on the old site was starting tomorrow, so the refurbishment could begin.

Muthalib said that a meeting with the Education Minister was scheduled for Thursday at request of the minister.

“We now believe that national education matters will not go well because of the attitude and thinking of the Education Ministry, especially Mustafa Luthfy,” Muthalib said recently. “So [Luthfy] should either make amends or resign.”

Dr Luthfy meanwhile claimed that if the situation was dealt with fairly, there “was no issue that can lead to a no-confidence motion.”

”The constitution says that a no-confidence motion should be forwarded if either a minister fails to implement the government’s policy or if he or she was irresponsible in his duty,” Dr Luthfy said.

”I am a person whose duty is to implement government’s policy, and everything I do is done to implement the government’s policy.”

Dr Luthfy noted that the issues mentioned in the no-confidence motion were all religious matters.

On June 8, Muthalib presented a petition to forward the motion against Education Minister, which was signed by five independent MPs, three Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MPs and two People’s Alliance (PA) MPs.

The government has meanwhile launched a spirited defense of the Education Minister.

“This is a part of DRP’s plan to pick off ministers one-by-one,” said the President’s Press Secretary, Mohamed Zuhair.

“First they plan to try and bring down the Education Minister, and if that succeeds they will then go after other ministers. This no-confidence motion is a shallow attempt to destabilise the government and the country.”