As Mal­dives jails ex-prez, In­dia asks it to up­hold rule of law

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

New Delhi: In­dia fi­nally woke up on Thurs­day to the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in the Mal­dives as it ex­pressed “deep dis­may” over the sen­tenc­ing of for­mer Pres­i­dent Mau­moon Ab­dul Gay­oom and Chief Jus­tice Ab­dulla Saeed to long terms in prison with­out giv­ing them a fair trial. The gov­ern­ment de­manded that Male re­lease all po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers im­me­di­ately.

The MEA said in a state­ment that this devel­op­ment had cast doubt on the com­mit­ment of Male to up­hold the rule of law and that it also called into ques­tion the cred­i­bil­ity of the en­tire process of pres­i­den­tial elec­tions sched­uled for Septem­ber this year.

Pres­i­dent Ab­dulla Yameen has shown lit­tle re­gard for In­dia’s strate­gic in­ter­ests in the way he has given shape to his coun­try’s for­eign pol­icy. The Yameen gov­ern­ment has not just asked In­dia to re­move both its he­li­copters from the Mal­dives by June end but has also given “in­for­mal” in­struc­tions to the im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment to put on hold fresh work per­mits for In­dian per­son­nel.

“In­dia be­lieves that a demo­cratic, sta­ble and pros­per­ous Mal­dives is in the in­ter­ests of all its neigh­bours and friends in the In­dian Ocean,” said MEA in its state­ment. “It re­it­er­ates its ad­vice to the Gov­ern­ment of the Mal­dives to re­store the cred­i­bil­ity of the elec­toral and po­lit­i­cal process by im­me­di­ately re­leas­ing po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers in­clud­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Gay­oom and Chief Jus­tice Ab­dulla Saeed and cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary con­di­tions for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of all po­lit­i­cal forces in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions,” it added.

For­mer Mal­dives for­eign min­is­ter, Ahmed Na- seem, wel­comed In­dia’s state­ment. “We Mal­di­vians can’t ac­cept an elec­tion which isn’t in­clu­sive and we hope that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing In­dia, will work to en­sure fair polls in the coun­try,” Naseem told TOI.

Mal­dives am­bas­sador to In­dia, Ahmed Mo­hamed, re­spond­ing to the state­ment, said Male will con­tinue to “re­as­sure our friend and neigh­bour that we do things in full com­pli­ance with our laws”. Male claimed that In­dia voted in its favour in the elec­tion for the UNSC non-per­ma­nent seat but the lat­ter has shown no sign of tak­ing any ac­tion to re­turn the favour.

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