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Posted at: Jun 14, 2018, 1:32 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2018, 1:32 AM (IST)

19-month jail for Maldivian ex-strongman

Maumoon Gayoom, accused of plot to overthrow govt, ruled archipelago state from 1978 to 2008

US slams sentencing of former dictator

  • The US on Wednesday criticised the sentencing of Maldives former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom following an “unfair trial” “An unfair trial - with no defence witnesses or even defence lawyers -will always result in an unfair sentence. Judges cannot serve the cause of fair and impartial justice if they fear theExecutive”, US Ambassador Atul Keshap tweeted.
  • Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (pic) is the second former president tobe jailed under Yameen’s rule. Mohamed Nasheed, who was the country’s first freely elected president in 2008, was earlier given a 13-year jail in a trial widely criticised for due process violations
19-month jail for Maldivian ex-strongman
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

Male, June 13

A Maldives court today sentenced former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom accused of plotting to overthrow the government to 19 months in prison for failing to cooperate with the police investigation.

Gayoom, 80, who ruled the Indian Ocean archipelago state from 1978 to 2008, is the second former president to be jailed under President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s rule. He was arrested in February on charges of attempting to overthrow the government of Yameen, his half-brother.

A court sentenced him to one year, seven months and six days in prison for failing to hand over his mobile phone to investigators. The country’s chief justice, Abdulla Saeed, who was arrested with Gayoom, was also given the same sentence for the same offence today. Saeed was previously given a similar jail sentence for allegedly influencing lower court decisions.

Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008, ending Gayoom’s 30-year strongman rule. However, Yameen, who was elected in 2013, has rolled back much of the democratic gains.

Earlier, Mohamed Nasheed, was earlier given a 13-year sentence. However, he was granted asylum in Britain when he went there on leave from prison for medical treatment.

Yameen’s former vice-president, Ahmed Adeeb, another Supreme Court justice, two former defence ministers, a prosecutor general and opposition lawmakers are among those who have been jailed during Yameen’s tenure. All of the trials have been criticised for alleged lack of fairness. With all of his potential opponents either in jail or in exile, Yameen is preparing to run for re-election in September virtually unopposed.

A five-member Supreme Court bench in February ordered the release and retrial of Nasheed and other prisoners, calling their sentences politically motivated.

However, Yameen declared a state of emergency and had Saeed, another justice, Ali Hameed, and Gayoom arrested. Later the three remaining Supreme Court judges overturned their previous decision to release the political prisoners. — AP 

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