Opposition decries ‘ramped up crackdown’

April 01 13:35 2017

The opposition alliance has denounced the government’s “new campaign of intimidation and harassment against opposition leaders” after a failed bid to impeach the speaker of parliament.

In the aftermath of Monday’s contentious vote, fresh terror charges were raised against former President Mohamed Nasheed, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was expelled from the party he founded, and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim was abruptly taken back to jail.

Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim and his deputy, MP Abdulla Riyaz, were interrogated by the police whilst jailed MP Ahmed Mahloof was deprived of his weekly phone call, family meeting and conjugal visit for one month.

“This week’s crackdown appears to be an attempt by the president to effectively criminalise the political opposition and thwart any attempts by the parliament to hold the president and his regime accountable,” the opposition alliance said in a joint statement on Friday.

Ahead of the no-confidence vote, former Presidents Gayoom and Nasheed along with JP leader Gasim and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla had signed a pact “to unite against President Abdulla Yameen’s increasing authoritarianism.” The grand coalition sought to dismantle the pro-government parliamentary majority with the bid to remove Maseeh.

Hours after the vote, the ethics committee of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives expelled Gayoom from the party, accusing him of “working with the opposition to overthrow the lawful government.”

But Gayoom, who is in India visiting a sick relative, disputed the legal standing of the ethics committee, which he had suspended in October at the height of the PPM’s leadership dispute.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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