Joint Party Statement: Maldives Supreme Court Frees Opposition Leaders; Reinstates Banned MPs; Frees Other Political Prisoners

1 February 2018, MALE: In a landmark ruling, the Maldives Supreme Court this evening ordered the immediate release from detention of former President Mohamed Nasheed, Jumhooree Party Leader Hon. Qasim Ibrahim, and Adhaalath Party Leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, MP Faris Maumoon and other political prisoners.

The Supreme Court ruled that former President Mohamed Nasheed, Hon Qasim Ibrahim, former Vice President, Adhaalath Party Leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, former Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhusin, Member of Parliament Faris Maumoon, Magistrate Ahmed Nihan, and Hamid Ismail must be immediately released and afforded a fair re-trial.

The ruling said all political prisoners must be released as the trials against them violated the Maldives’ Constitution and international law. The ruling also stated that political pressure was applied on the prosecutors and the courts during these trials.

The Supreme Court further annulled the previous controversial ‘anti-defection’ ruling of July 2017, thus immediately reinstating 12 opposition members of parliament. The restoration of the 12 MPs gives the opposition alliance a clear majority in the Parliament.

The rulings have been posted on the Supreme Court website.

The opposition alliance called on the security forces to uphold the Constitution, respect the rule of law, and serve the Maldivian people.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had ruled that President Nasheed’s and Colonel Nazim’s detentions are unlawful under international law. The international community and other observers have widely condemned the highly politicised charges against Hon. Qasim Ibrahim, Sheikh Imran Abdulla, MP Faris Maumoon and other political prisoners.

The joint opposition welcomed the Supreme Court’s rulings, and called for the immediate resignation of President Yameen. The Supreme Court’s verdict effectively ends President Yameen’s authoritarian rule.