International

India asks Maldives to release former President Gayoom, other political prisoners

Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.   | Photo Credit: AP

India’s statement comes after a Male court on Wednesday sentenced Gayoom to 19 months in jail in a case that allegedly involves a plot to oust President Abdullah Yameen.

India on Thursday called for the immediate release of the former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and other political prisoners.

India’s statement comes after a court in Male on Wednesday sentenced Mr. Gayoom to 19 months in prison in a case that allegedly involved a plot to oust the current President Abdullah Yameen, who is expected to hold elections in September.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement, “It is, ...with deep dismay that we learned that the former President of the Maldives as well as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are being sentenced to long prison terms without fair trial. (India) reiterates its advice to the Government of the Maldives to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by immediately releasing political prisoners including former President Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed and creating the necessary conditions for the participation of all political forces in the Presidential elections.”

A criminal court in Maldives ruled that Mr. Gayoom, who ruled the country for decades, obstructed the legal process in a case that concerned an alleged attempt to topple the government. Mr. Gayoom and Supreme Court Chief Justice Ali Hameed were arrested in February for allegedly clearing the way for an impeachment motion against Mr. Yameen.

In February, Mr. Yameen imposed emergency rule in the archipelago nation following months of political instability and violence. Though the emergency rule was subsequently withdrawn, most of the political prisoners are yet to be released.

“India believes that a democratic, stable and prosperous Maldives is in the interests of all its neighbours and friends in the Indian Ocean,” the MEA statement said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:23:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/release-former-president-gayoom-india-tells-maldives/article24161326.ece

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