The Maldivian Democratic Party condemns the sentencing to jail of Honourable MP Ahmed Mahloof, for 4 months and 24 days today, by the heavily intimidated and politically compromised Criminal Court of the Maldives. MP Mahloof, an Independent Member of the national Parliament of the Maldives, was sentenced today in a closed hearing, on charges of “obstruction of Police duty,” in a trial that has lasted for over a year, since his arrest from an anti- tyranny demonstration in March 2015.
MP Mahloof, a founding member of the Government Party, was expelled from the party in March 2015, for speaking out against the corruption and heavy- handedness of the Government, and especially President Yameen Abdul Qayoom. Mahloof, a vocal critic of the Government since then, has been arrested innumerable times, and faces a number of politically- motivated charges.
MP Mahloof, a member of the Parliamentarians for Global Action, who is also the Spokesperson for the recently formed Maldives United Opposition, has been singularly hounded and persecuted by this regime. His sentencing is the latest in a series of such sentences undertaken against opposition political figures, and is yet another example of the Judicial perpetuation of the Government’s policy of oppression.
The MDP condemns this sentencing as both yet another act of suppression of free speech and a further attack against the peaceful political opposition in the country. We strongly believe that by the jailing of such a prominent figure as MP Mahloof, the Government is sending a message that dissent of any kind will not be tolerated, even by elected officials.
“We are witnessing the complete collapse of democracy in the Maldives. We call on this Government to lift all restrictions against the legitimate work of the political opposition or face an increasingly disgruntled public. We urge the international community to, in dialogues with the Maldives Government, emphasise the need to address the concrete steps pressed by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, and to impress upon this Government that its authoritarianism will impact relations”, said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.