Fisheries minister counters Dunya’s call to free her father

Fisheries minister Dr Mohamed Shainee speaks at a press conference. PHOTO/MIHAARU

Fisheries minister Dr Mohamed Shainee speaks at a press conference. PHOTO/MIHAARU

Minister of Fisheries Dr Mohamed Shainee has countered Dunya Maumoon’s call to free her father the former president of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, after he was taken into custody for bribery and allegedly conspiring to illegally bring down the elected government. His arrest came on February 5 after a state of emergency was declared in the country.

On Monday, a week after her father was arrested; Ministry of Health state minister Dunya had taken to twitter calling on authorities to release her father the former president. In her tweet she referred to him as the “father of the nation” and called to ensure his medical care, family access and legal representation. In the tweet Dunya had also tagged prominent and influential international figures.

Following Dunya’s tweet, Dr Shainee had fired back on twitter noting that the former strongman was in jail for bribery and conspiring to bring down a legitimate government, and raised the question of why he should be treated any differently from other alleged criminals.

Speaking to Mihaaru, Dr Shainee explained that it was concerning as Dunya’s tweet could undermine the efforts of the government to resume all party political dialogue. He also appealed to Dunya, to refrain from making fabricated allegations as the former president is accorded all his rights. An ardent supporter of the incumbent president, Dr Shainee had also denied that former president is being denied legal representation.

After statements of concern from Gayyoom’s lawyers he was allowed legal representation, but family meetings are still on hold. Maldives Corrections Service had stated that lawyer visitation was put on hold due to the state of emergency.

Former President Maumoon and two Supreme Court justices were arrested after the state of emergency. The opposition has accused President Yameen of declaring the state of emergency to intimidate and arrest people at will, following the landmark apex court ruling on February 1.

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