Joint Statement: Condemn in Strongest Terms Arrest of Jumhooree Party Leader, Hon. Qasim Ibrahim, MP

6 April, Male’: President Yameen had opposition Jumhooree Party leader and MP, Qasim Ibrahim, arrested on Thursday. With the arrest of Hon. Qasim, every opposition leader in the Maldives has now been arrested and is under some form of detention.

Police arrested Hon. Qasim from his home on Thursday evening on charges of “attempting to influence no confidence motions against the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, through bribing of Members of Parliament,” and “attempting to influence national security forces,” and “plotting to overthrow the government.”

The arrest warrant was signed by Criminal Court Chief judge, Abdul Bari Yoosuf. Judge Bari sat on the bench in the sentencing of President Nasheed on terror charges in 2015, and in the sentencing of President Yameen’s former Defense Minister, Colonel Mohamed Nazim, on terror charges in 2015. He was also the sole judge in the sentencing of Sheikh Imran, leader of the Adhaalath Party, in February 2016.

Hon. Qasim Ibrahim was taken straight from his home in Male’ to Dhoonidhoo island Detention Centre.

Hon. Qasim is one of the signatories to the historic agreement of 24 March 2017, in which key political leaders signed a pact pledging to work together to restore democracy and fundamental freedoms in the Maldives. The other signatories were leader of the ruling PPM, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party and Sheikh Imran Abdulla of the Adaalath Party.

Hon. Qasim’s arrest follows an intensified crackdown on the political opposition by President Yameen, since he narrowly escaped a no confidence motion against the Speaker of Parliament, a regime crony, on 27 March.

Hon. Qasim’s arrest, on blatantly trumped-up charges, demonstrates once again President Yameen’s willingness to subvert state institutions in order to pursue and persecute anyone to who attempts to hold him accountable.

With the last opposition leader in the country now behind bars, there can be no greater symbol of President Yameen’s contempt for democracy, the rule of law and the Constitutionally enshrined rights of the Maldivian people.