Maldives ex-president back in jail

Male, Aug 24 (IANS) Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed was back in jail, two months after his 13-year prison sentence was commuted to house arrest due to health concerns, the media reported on Monday.

Nasheed, who leads the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), was transferred to house arrest for two months due to health reasons. The transfer that came into effect on June 21 expired on Friday, but his lawyers had confirmed that the government has agreed to let Nasheed serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest, Haveeru online reported.

However, he was taken back to Maafushi prison late Sunday evening. The government has not yet disclosed the reasons behind the abrupt decision.

Meanwhile, defence lawyers on Monday asked the Criminal Court to declare Nasheed’s transfer back to prison illegal and order his immediate release.

A court official confirmed the submission by Nasheed’s lawyers, but said the court is yet to decide on accepting the case.

In a statement, Nasheed’s lawyers also accused the government of breaching the constitution, saying that there was no legal for reversing a commutation of a sentence.

“This latest U-turn by the government shows its complete disregard for the rule of law. After subjecting Nasheed to an unfair trial and outrageous conviction, this capricious administration has now reversed its decision on house arrest,” Amal Clooney, a member of Nasheed’s international legal team, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“They have the audacity to claim that there was no commutation of Nasheed’s sentence even though we have official documents and public statements confirming the opposite.”

The authenticity of the documents referred by Clooney and local lawyers representing Nasheed has been questioned, as no official government source has yet confirmed the commutation of Nasheed’s sentence.

Nasheed was found guilty of orchestrating the arbitrary detention of Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his tenure as president.

He had foregone his right to appeal.

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