6 October 2015

The Government of Maldives notes the content of the opinion issued by the WGAD.

The Government of Maldives has made its position clear in the statement issued on 30 September 2015 in respect of that opinion, and in respect of the conclusions made.

Former President Mr Mohamed Nasheed has had the opportunity to file an appeal against his conviction and have the appellate courts consider his concerns.  As yet, he has refused to avail himself of this right.  Further, despite the former President making a formal written request of the Prosecutor General to file an appeal, when that matter was brought before Court, he, through his legal team, deliberately sought to undermine the appeal by arguing that the Prosecutor General had no power to bring such an appeal.

The former President’s comments on this have been notable by their absence.

The former President and his legal team, both domestic and international, have consistently failed to address the fact that he has made admissions to the offence for which he was convicted on at least two separate occasions.  Initially, in an opinion piece published by the New York Times and on another occasion whilst being interviewed by the BBC for their ‘Hardtalk’ programme the former President openly acknowledged that he had ordered the abduction of Judge Abdulla.

Despite those who would seek to argue to the contrary, the former President is not a political prisoner, he is an individual who committed an offence of the utmost seriousness, an offence to which he has made formal admissions, and has been tried and convicted as a result. His sentence of imprisonment is not arbitrary; it follows a lawful ruling by a Court of Law.  Any concerns as to the trial process, and the findings of the WGAD, may now be addressed in the appeal before the Supreme Court.

The Government of Maldives further notes that reference was made during an interview given to CNN on 5 October 2015 to the situation arising following ‘the dismissal’ of Judge Abdulla. It is disappointing that a respected lawyer could not distinguish a situation where someone was illegally abducted—which Mr Nasheed publicly admitted of having done, and a constructed case of “dismissal of a judge”—which in fact did not happen. It is common ground between all parties that Judge Abdulla was unlawfully detained.  The former President took these actions precisely because Judge Abdulla had not been dismissed – thereby taking matters into his own hands. Any attempts to trivialise the former President’s conduct are wholly inappropriate and constitute a cynical attempt to divert attention away from the seriousness of the former President’s actions.

The Government maintains its position that the WGAD’s opinion is deeply disappointing as it fails to address a number of salient and highly relevant considerations.  The Government has consistently maintained its position that it will continue to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures.  However, it is not for the Executive to intervene in such matters that are pending before the Courts.  The rule of law must apply equally and without discrimination.  The correct forum for resolving these matters remains the Courts and the Government is committed to this most basic principle.

The Government notes that the wholly inappropriate threat of sanctions appears to have been widened by the former President and his legal team to now include a suggested tourism boycott.

It is quite improper to suggest such a position be adopted.  The threats to the Government that if the former President is not released sanctions will follow is an inappropriate course of conduct to follow. The Maldives is a country reliant on tourism and any boycott will only serve to punish the hardworking citizens of this country and demonstrates a staggering degree of selfishness

The former President is once again reminded that the forum for resolving legal disputes remains with the Courts and that he has been provided with an avenue for addressing his complaints with the Supreme Court.