Expressing dismay over the political developments in the Maldives, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday released a statement saying the political situation in the island nation is a matter of concern. The statement said that India welcomed the lifting of the State of Emergency and has also called upon the Maldives government to ensure early resumption of the political process. It also urged the Maldivian government to allow the democratic institutions, including the judiciary, to function in a fair and transparent manner.
Two weeks after the imprisonment of former Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the chief justice of its Supreme Court Abdulla Saeed earlier this month, the Maldivian government on Thursday appointed his successor Ahmed Abdulla Didi. The court has sentenced both Gayoom and Saeed to 19 months of imprisonment. The trials, which have been widely criticised, are being observed as part of President Abdulla Yameen’s plan to extend his term and strengthen his supremacy, as Maldives heads towards general elections in September this year.
The MEA reacting to the sentencing had then released a statement saying, “It is, therefore, 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 fair trial.” The MEA said India reiterated its ‘advice’ to the Maldivian government to restore the credibility of electoral and political process by immediately releasing political prisoners, including Gayoom and the chief justice.
Ever since the island nation has been rocked with political instability, India has continuously urged the Maldivian government to allow all institutions, including its Supreme Court and Parliament, to function in an independent manner and permit genuine dialogue between all political parties.
Following an order by the Supreme Court to release a group of Opposition leaders convicted in widely-criticised trials, Yameen on February 5 had declared State of Emergency in the island nation.