Diplomacy Politics

‘Imperative’ for government to release prisoners: India

India has urged the Maldivian government to release political prisoners as ordered by the Supreme Court in a shock ruling Thursday night.

“In the spirit of democracy and rule of law, it is imperative for all organs of the government of Maldives to respect and abide by the order of the apex court,” reads an external affairs ministry statement released Friday.

“We also hope that the safety and security of the Indian expatriates in Maldives will be ensured by the Maldivian authorities under all circumstances,” it added. “As a close and friendly neighbour, India wishes to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Maldives. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation.”

The joint opposition has vowed to keep protesting until the ruling is fully enforced. Despite the government saying it will consult with the court “to comply with the ruling in line with proper procedure and the rule of law,” the prisons authority has yet to release any of the high-profile inmates.

Atul Keshap, the United States ambassador to the Maldives, also urged the authorities to respect the ruling, which “bolsters democracy and rule of law for all Maldivians.”

Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said Friday: “The conviction of Mohamed Nasheed was always a politically motivated verdict that flowed from a deeply flawed process. It is heartening to see the conviction has been thrown out, and prisoners held for political reasons have been released, but this moment must mark a turning point for the Maldives.

“For the rule of law to retain any meaning, this ruling must be implemented and the witch-hunt against the political opposition and other critics must come to an end.  Re-trials must be conducted in line with international standards, and authorities must restore judicial independence.”

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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