The United States, the European Union and Canada have condemned the Maldives government amid a fresh crackdown on the opposition which has seen the arrest and investigation of key figures on bribery charges.
“Opposition politicians ought to be able to conduct their activities without fear of intimidation or incarceration,” the EU and the embassies of Canada, Norway, Switzerland and the US said in a joint statement on Saturday.
“It is critical for democracy in the Maldives that the Government respect fundamental freedoms, including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.”
A spokesman for the president’s office declined to comment, but referred to a fresh invitation by the government for all-party talks.
The statement by the EU, US and Canada follows the Thursday arrest of MP Gasim Ibrahim, the leader of the Jumhooree Party, on charges of bribery and attempting to oust President Abdulla Yameen.
A newly minted coalition, comprising of Gasim’s JP, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s faction of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives, and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party, are trying to weaken Yameen’s hold on power by gaining control of the parliament.
It has launched a bid to remove the speaker and deputy speaker, who are both loyal to Yameen, but a no-confidence motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh failed in March.
The vote was marred with irregularities and the opposition has pledged to file a new motion.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent