The Government of the Republic of Maldives rejects the views adopted by the Human Rights Committee on 4 April 2018 regarding the complaints filed by former President Mohamed Nasheed alleging the violation of his civil and political rights.

The Government of the Maldives is committed to promoting and protecting the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Maldives and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as per it’s international obligations, and it wholeheartedly refutes that any of these rights have been violated in the case of the former President Nasheed. The Government accepts the conviction of Nasheed as lawful and final. The conviction has reached finality after the decision of the Supreme Court on 27 June 2016. The Government notes with concern that although a detailed submission was filed in response to the complaints, very little, if any, consideration has been given to those submissions.

Having attempted to subvert the course of justice and dismantle the judicial branch of the State, both while in Office and since leaving it, former President Nasheed was charged for having ordered the abduction of a sitting judge. President Nasheed had confessed through various public statements, both in local and international forums and via media, that the arrest of the judge was in response to his wishes and that he would do it again.  The charges were pressed by a Prosecutor General that Nasheed had himself nominated. Nasheed contested in the Presidential Election in 2013 while the initial judicial process was ongoing. Both his contestation and the national campaign he led refutes the assertion that charges against him were intended to hinder his political aspirations. It is unfortunate that, while the submission of the Government of the Maldives to the Human Rights Committee explicitly accounts for this with factual detail, the Committee has not given sufficient consideration to these submissions.

Furthermore, the Government also maintains that the former President Nasheed’s political standing had no bearing, whatsoever, on the charges against him and his subsequent conviction, and reaffirms that the process was free of any and all political influence. As Nasheed has been convicted lawfully, the restrictions on his political participation and association are justified and reasonable under the laws and regulations of the Maldives as well as the rulings of the courts of the Maldives.

The Government notes that Article 109 of the Constitution of the Maldives details the qualifications a person elected as President must hold, and as such, Article 109 (f) states that such a person shall not have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release, or pardon for the offence for which he was sentenced.

Since Former President Nasheed was convicted on 13 March 2015 and sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment, he would not be eligible to run for the Office of the President unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release or pardon.

The Government also notes that the Former President was granted permission to travel abroad to seek medical treatment and that following expiry of the medical leave, he has not returned to serve his sentence and therefore remains a fugitive.

For these reasons, Former President Nasheed’s conviction disqualifies him from running in the Presidential elections, for the term of his sentence and for an additional 3 years.

Finally, Article 113 of the Constitution states that the Supreme Court, sitting together in session, shall have sole and final jurisdiction to determine all disputes concerning the qualification or disqualification, election, status, of a presidential candidate or running mate or removal of the President by the People’s Majlis. Therefore, it is for the Supreme Court to decide on the eligibility of Nasheed for the Presidential Election, and not for the Human Rights Committee.

The Government assures that Maldives and its State institutions are committed to holding free, fair and credible Presidential elections in early September of this year. The Government wishes to assert that elections can only take place as per the provisions set forth in the Maldivian Constitution, and relevant electoral laws.

Nonetheless, the Government is committed to working with all domestic and international stakeholders to improve institutional frameworks and to ensure a stable and peaceful environment with all candidates that qualify as per Maldivian law. The Maldives also welcomes constructive engagement from United Nations, its offices, and all its treaty bodies.

ENDS

 

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs