The Prosecutor General’s office has withdrawn a case seeking to detain a ruling party candidate for the Malé city council on an assault charge.
Ganim Abdul Ghafoor, the Progressive Party of Maldives candidate for the Machangoalhi north constituency, was arrested on March 12 and released after the criminal court turned down a request by the police to keep him in remand detention.
The PG office appealed the criminal court’s order at the high court to bring Ganim back in custody. However, the state prosecutor withdrew the case shortly before the first hearing of the appeal on Wednesday.
The PG office spokesman told the Maldives Independent that the police informed prosecutors that they no longer needed to hold Ganim in custody.
Ganim was accused of being part of a group that assaulted a man at Malé’s carnival area. Ganim was previously prosecuted on charges of assaulting a soldier but he was found not guilty by the criminal court.
In early February, the PPM-dominated parliament amended the electoral law to allow individuals with criminal records to contest in the local council elections. The eligibility criteria were changed to allow individuals convicted of graft, bribery, drug abuse, and offences with punishments prescribed in Islamic shariah to contest three years after being pardoned or completing their jail sentence.
The law previously barred individuals convicted of these crimes from contesting even if they had been pardoned or released.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party condemned the last-minute change in the eligibility criteria as “contrary to every principle of democracy and justice”.
In late April, the MDP accused the government of using the police “to frame opposition candidates to invalidate their candidacy” after two candidates were arrested on drug charges.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent