MDP Condemns Politically Motivated Arrest of Leading MP
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has condemned the jailing of MP and spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, who was taken to prison this afternoon despite an assurance from Home Minister Umar Naseer that the new Government would treat his case with ‘leniency.’
Hamid was summoned to court, and convicted in abstentia, just prior to the September presidential elections, when the regime of Mohamed Waheed was attempting to reduce the MDP’s majority in parliament through coercion. He was arrested in clear violation of the Parliamentary Privileges Act, which states that MPs cannot be arrested while a no-confidence motion against a Government minister is pending.
On Thursday the Maldives Supreme Court – an institution widely discredited as partisan in recent months – annulled the Parliamentary Privileges Act, in an apparent attempt to target MDP MPs such as Hamid.
Commenting on the matter, MDP deputy chairperson Ali Shiyam said:
“President Yameen, who won the presidency in contested circumstances with 52% of the vote, said he would rule as a president for “all Maldivians”. Sadly, within days of his presidency, the Courts – which are de facto controlled by the executive – have started a witch-hunt against MDP MPs. This does not bode well for co-operation or compromise between the opposition and the ruling administration.”