Maldives govt rejects UN Rights Committee decision, insists Nasheed’s rights not violated

Former President Mohamed Nasheed. PHOTO/AHMED AZIM

Former President Mohamed Nasheed. PHOTO/AHMED AZIM

The Maldives’ government has rejected United Nations Human Rights Committee’s decision made in favour of former President Mohamed Nasheed, and “wholeheartedly refutes that any of these rights have been violated”, in his case.

Earlier on Monday, Reuters revealed that the United Nations committee had firmly advocated the former president’s right to stand for office, including in a presidential election later this year.

Maldives government responded affirming that “it is for the Supreme Court to decide on the eligibility of Nasheed for the presidential election, and not for the Human Rights Committee.”

In a detailed statement issued shortly after the United Nations committee decision came to light, the government assured that Maldives was committed to promoting and protecting the rights enshrined in the Constitution as well as its international obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The government was quick to note that detailed submissions were filed with the committee in response to the complaints filed by Nasheed and stated “with concern” that “very little, if any, consideration has been given to those submissions.”

“The government accepts the conviction of Nasheed as lawful and final. The conviction has reached finality after the decision of the Supreme Court on June 27, 2016,” the statement read.

The government also criticised the former president, who was sentenced to 13-years of imprisonment on terrorism charges for the arbitrary arrest of a sitting judge, stating that he had “attempted to subvert the course of justice and dismantle the judicial branch of the state, both while in office and since leaving it.”

Emphasising that Nasheed’s arrest was not political, the government stated that the charges against him were pressed by a Prosecutor General nominated by Nasheed himself, and highlighted how he had contested in the Presidential Election of 2013 while the initial judicial process against him was still was on-going.

The government noted again that these details were overlooked by the committee, adding that it is “unfortunate that, while the submission of the government of Maldives to the Human Rights Committee explicitly accounts for this with factual detail, the committee has not given sufficient consideration to these submissions.”

“As Nasheed has been convicted lawfully, the restrictions on his political participation and association are justified and reasonable under the laws and regulations of Maldives as well as the rulings of the courts of Maldives,” the statement said, after reaffirming that his trial process was free of any political influence.

Therefore, the government asserted that as per Article 109 (f) of the constitution, which states that a person convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than 12-months, Nasheed would not be eligible to run for office in the upcoming presidential election this year.

The Maldives government also declared that the former president remains a fugitive of the state since he failed to return after his medical leave expired.

“For these reasons, former President Nasheed’s convictions disqualifies him from running in the presidential elections, for the term of his sentence, and for an additional three years.”

The Maldives government’s statement ended with it assuring that it is committed to working with all domestic and international stakeholders to “improve institutional frameworks and to ensure a stable and peaceful environment with all candidates that qualify as per Maldivian law.”

The government had even welcomed the “constructive engagement” from the United Nations offices and all its treaty bodies.

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