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Maldives: President Yameen back tracking on his Promises: Not a surprise!

Paper No. 6061         Dated 19-Jan-2016
 
By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan
 
In our last paper on Maldives, I had mentioned how the opposition MDP was tricked into cooperation for constitutional amendments to be passed in the Majlis in return for release of former president Nasheed.
 
A genuine document with a government seal was handed over to Nasheed’s relatives commuting the sentence to house arrest.  The Security authorities who could not have acted without instructions from “above’ forcibly took Nasheed away from his home to Mafushii jail claiming that the document was a forged one.  The forensic authorities have since declared ( on 7th Dec) that the document was genuine.  
 
It is now confirmed by jailed former Vice President Adeeb that President Yameen had indeed taken the decision to commute the sentence of Nasheed to one of house arrest and that the Maldives Correctional Services had delivered the document to Nasheed.
 
Adheeb had added that the document was in accordance with set procedures and he had no role in disputing its authenticity.  
 
Adheeb’s lawyers have accused the government of unfairly blaming their client Adheeb for Nasheed’s imprisonment.
 
It may be recalled that the Police perhaps on instructions raided Nasheed’s on the same night when Nasheed was taken away back to jail.  The family of Nasheed was put to great inconvenience on that night and a huge crowd that had gathered there had to be dispersed by force.
 
It looks that the Police did not raid Nasheed’s house for finding any incriminating document order  but to retreieve the original of Maldivian Correctional service from the custody of the family of Nasheed.  But Nasheed’s family was clever enough to send the document abroad for forensic analysis that has now proved to be authentic.
 
That President Yameen had initially commuted the sentence of Nasheed was also confirmed by the Maldivian High Commission in Colombo to the AFP.
 
Another case of back tracking of Yameen has to come to light.  Due to pressure from friendly countries like Sri Lanka, India and UK, President Yameen had initially agreed to allow former President Nasheed to travel to the United Kingdom for a spine operation without conditions.
 
It is now revealed that President Yameen has reneged on his promise of unconditional release..  
 
Now Nasheed has been told that he could only go if he agrees to sign that someone else should be made responsible to be in Male while he is away and that he/she would be liable for prosecution if Nasheed does not return.  An added restriction of time of one month has been given to Nasheed to return after the operation.   
 
It amounts to keeping someone as hostage in Maldives while Nasheed is away for medical treatment.  This is not something Nasheed would ever agree.
 
Nasheed’s lawyer had this to say.
 
“The issue here is with an agreement Nasheed’s family member has to sign.  The document says that Nasheed’s family member agrees to stay in Male and to seek permission from Maldives’ Correctional Services to leave Male and also agrees to having criminal charges filed against them if any provision in the document is violated.  This means there are opportunities for the arrest and jailing of the family member, that the family member has to agree to be criminally liable, agree to criminal charges.  President Nasheed does not want any of his family members to be arrested for him to travel abroad.”
 
There is no provision in Maldivian law to restrict a family member or prosecute him/her for the action of an inmate of the prison.  The demand of the Home Ministry is outrageous, to say the least.  The law of President Yameen appears to be final one here.
 
Nasheed’s international lawyers are said to be lobbying the governments of the US and UK for targeted sanctions on officials responsible for deteriorating human rights conditions and for the unlawful detention of former President Nasheed.  
 
Targeted sanction is not an answer and if there has to be one, it could only be on President Yameen and no one else.  There should be other ways to get President Yameen to see  reason and free Nasheed from the current unlawful detention on terrorism charges.
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