The MDP Condemns in the Strongest Terms the Politically Motivated Sentencing of Six May Day Detainees to Five Years in Jail, and a Second Consecutive Jail Sentence on MP Ahmed Mahloof

May Day 2015 Detainees, 5 Years Jail sentence

The Maldivian Democratic Party condemns in the strongest terms the politically-motivated charging of, and sentencing of six human rights activists to five years in jail. The detainees were arrested from a peaceful, anti- government mass rally on 1 May 2015, and held in detention without sentencing for over a year. One of the jailed, Nasira Ali, is a mother of two, and has been in detention since she was arrested. Nasira, along with the others were charged with the “use of dangerous weapons”, and “assaulting of police officers.” The “weapon” in question is a half- empty bottle of coke. The detainees were denied the lowest sentence as first time offenders.

The MDP views the sentencing of Ahmed Ibrahim, Farhath Ali, Abdulla Rasheed Ibrahim, Ibrahim Labaan, Umar Gaahiru, Naasiraa Ali as an escalation in a sweeping assault on human rights defenders and political activists in the country.

MP Ahmed Mahloof, 6 More Months Jail sentence

The MDP condemns the sentencing of Independent MP, Honourable Ahmed Mahloof to a further six months in jail. MP Mahloof, the only Independent Member of Parliament, was sentenced to 4 months and 24 days in jail, on 18 July in a closed hearing, on charges of “obstruction of Police duty,” in a trial that has lasted over a year, since his arrest from an anti- tyranny demonstration in March 2015. Today, he was again sentenced to another 6 months in jail for the same charges, totaling 10 months and 24 days. One of MP Mahloof’s lawyers was also suspended from the case, minutes before the final hearing.

MP Mahloof, a founding member of the Government Party, was expelled from the party in March 2015, for speaking out against the corruption and authoritarianism of the Government. MP Mahloof, a member of the Parliamentarians for Global Action, is also the Spokesperson for the recently formed Maldives United Opposition.

MP Mahloof has been arrested on a number of occasions. The MDP strongly believes that MP Ahmed Mahloof, a young and vocal critic of the Government, is being persecuted to coerce others at the frontline of opposition activities. This case is an example of the egregious use of the criminal justice system by the Government as a tool to intimidate, criminalise and penalise the legitimate activities of human rights defenders and political leaders in the country.

Under international human rights law, including treaties that Maldives has ratified, Maldives is legally bound to respect and protect the human rights of all Maldivians, including the rights to freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly. With the passing of these sentences, the Government is rescinding on all its human rights obligations. The escalation also signals the Government’s outright insincerity towards political dialogue.
“We reiterate our demand for the release of all political prisoners. We also urge the Government to bring an immediate end to this intensified clampdown, in order to avoid an unmanageable situation,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.