Nasheed’s prison leave may be extended

Maldives did not experience the projected growth of five per cent in the arrival of foreign tourists during 2015. This was due to “external factors,” and not because of domestic politics, according to Moosa Zameer, Maldivian Minister for Tourism.

Answering questions by THE HINDU on the impact of the domestic political developments on the growth of the country’s tourist sector, Mr. Zameer told a press conference in Colombo on Friday that the tourism sector worldwide was affected by a number of events and factors such as the ISIS, Paris attacks and the state of the Russian economy. “In spite of them, we registered a growth of 2.7 per cent last year,” he pointed out, adding that the growth in respect of the tourist segments of Germany, Italy and India was “promising.”

In the case of the foreign tourists, about 30 per cent belonged to those who visited Maldives two to three times a year and a majority of such tourists was from Europe. “The political drama that is happening [in Maldives] has been understood by the large population [of the tourists],” Mr. Zameer contended.

Giving a breakup of the foreign tourists, the Minister said the Europe, especially Central Europe and the United Kingdom, was the dominant section. The continent as a whole accounted for nearly 50 per cent while China’s share was 30 per cent. Eight per cent of the tourists was from India and the Minister expected the growth rate to go up in view of the recent launch of flights from Chennai and Bengaluru.

Nasheed’s “leave”

Answering questions on former President Mohammed Nasheed’s “temporary leave” for going to the UK on medical grounds, Aishath Azima Shakoor, Minister for Legal Affairs at the President’s Office, said that as per the standard procedure, the duration was 30 days. Ordinarily, those serving sentence, when required medical treatment which was not available in Maldives, were permitted to go abroad on the undertaking that they would return. In the event of extension sought on medical grounds, the permission was also granted. “He [Mr Nasheed] would be given as well.”

Describing Mr. Nasheed as a “man of high stature,” Ms. Shakoor said he had given a guarantee [on his return] as all other persons serving prison sentence would give, at the time of leaving the country. “Our belief is that he will return. I do not think the question of him not returning does not arise.”

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 3:23:31 PM |

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