Opposition lawmaker unfazed by ‘imminent prison sentence’

Opposition aligned lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof speaking to reporters. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Opposition aligned lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof speaking to reporters. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Opposition aligned lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof Monday insisted that he was unfazed by the imminent jail sentence over charges of obstructing police officers during an opposition protest in March.

The independent MP for South Galolhu who is also the spokesperson for the newly formed Maldives United Opposition (MOU) scaling barricades set up near the local market and attempting to enter the restricted Republic Square.

A verdict is expected later Monday after the Criminal court decided to hold the sentencing hearing behind closed doors.

Speaking to reporters outside the court Mahloof said he expected a jail sentence which he alleged was on orders of president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

However, Mahloof who has been an outspoken critic of President Yameen since his expulsion from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) last year insisted that he would continue his efforts against the government despite the verdict.

“I would of course be sad if I have to be away from my family. But that would not shake my resolve,” he added.

The charge of obstructing police duty carries either a fine of no more than MVR12,000 or a jail sentence of six months, under the old penal code. It is unclear if provisions in the new penal code would be applied to Mahloof’s case.

If convicted Mahloof is not expected to lose his parliament seat as a sitting MP would only be stripped of his seat if sentenced to more than one year in prison.

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