18 March 2015
The spokesman for the External Affairs Ministry said that India was deeply concerned over the 13 year imprisonment of former president Mohamed Nasheed. Former President Nasheed was charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1990 over the detention of a judge in 2012.
Delhi contends that Maldives situation could undermine regional stability and that Nasheed’s trial was only an attempt by President Yameen to eliminate his political opponents and prevent them from contesting the 2018 presidential elections. India’s concern resulted in PM Modi to skip his trip to Maldives while touring South East Asian neighbors.
The spokesman added that though Yameen’s government appears to be strong and stable, it has seeds of instability. He cited the example of Maldivian Defence Ministry Coordinator Mohamed Mushrif resigning in protest of government’s brutality in handling President Nasheed. Mushrif contended that the prosecution of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was unfair and politically motivated. Maldivian human rights envoy to the United Nations permanent mission in Geneva, Ibrahim Luthfy, also resigned recently citing similar reasons.
On March 16, Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon who was in Colombo accused former President Nasheed of causing “political embarrassment” to both (Maldives and India) countries, citing the example of the former President Nasheed taking refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male’ to avoid being arrested in connection with the same case in February 2013.
President Nasheed has a constitutional right of appeal to the High Court of Maldives. An appeal must be lodged within 10 days of the verdict. To file an appeal his lawyers require a signed copy of the court proceedings from the Criminal Court. But the Criminal Court has said that it will take up to 14 days to release its proceeding – another travesty of justice.
Even a former ally of Yameen, Sheikh Imran, president of the hardline Adhaalath Party, recently said that the government was not on the right tract and had been violating individual rights of the people. He added that there was rampant corruption within the government.
In the meantime former president Nasheed has asked his supporters to take to the streets and protest against the government to restore democracy in the Maldives.
Besides India, the USA, the EU and several human rights groups have raised concerns over the judicial procedure in Maldives and sentencing of Nasheed.