Trial of Maldives' ex-leader sparks fears
Charges against the ex-president of the Maldives over the arrest and detention of a serving judge are not a simple case of abuse of power, a leading group of English human rights lawyers claims.
A report from the international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales concludes that allegations against Mohamed Nasheed require further investigation.
The bar’s human rights committee report follows its study of the circumstances surrounding Mr Nasheed’s trial after he controversially lost power last February. He has since been charged with abusing his powers in office by ordering the arrest and detention of a serving judge in January 2012. If convicted, he is likely to be barred from standing in the next presidential elections, scheduled for next year.
The committee report, released last week, found the president was desperate to ‘bring change to a new democracy after decades of oppression’, adding that he was ‘thwarted by the inability of the organs of state set up by the constitution to deliver much needed reform’. The barristers also agree with several other international reports taking view that the Maldives has not created an independent and impartial judiciary.
Mr Nasheed’s lawyers have now petitioned the Prosecutor-General to review whether the prosecution is in the public interest – an application the barristers maintain deserves ‘very serious consideration’.
The committee also commented on the general deterioration of human rights protection in the Maldives since the transfer of power last February, concluding: ‘A failure to comply with human rights standards by the Maldivian authorities is a grave threat to the democracy so recently achieved.’