India on Thursday called for the immediate release of the former Maldivian president Mohammed Abdul Gayoom and other political prisoners. India’s statement came hours after a court in Male sentenced the former president for 19 months in a case that allegedly involved a plot to oust the current president Abdullah Yameen who is expected to hold elections in September.
“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 a 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,” said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
On Wednesday, a criminal court in the 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 of President Abdullah Yameen. Mr Gayoom and the Supreme Court Chief Justice Ali Hameed were arrested in February for allegedly clearing the way for an impeachment motion against the current President.
President Yameen had imposed emergency rule in the archipelago nation in February 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 Though the emergency rule was subsequently withdrawn, most of the political prisoners are yet to be released.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 reiterated.
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Source URL: The Hindu