Maldives SC frees Ex-President Nasheed and other eight; orders new trials
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 02-Feb-2018

Male, February 2: Immediate release of former president Mohamed Nasheed and eight other opposition leaders was ordered by the Supreme Court of Maldives. Others freed by the Supreme Court include a former vice president, a former defense minister, the leaders of two minor opposition parties, a ruling party lawmaker, a judge, a former chief prosecutor and a prominent businessman.

 

The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday came after an opposition alliance petitioned the top court to temporarily remove President Abdulla Yameen for misrule, rights abuses and "unprecedented corruption".

Judges did not rule on that request but instead ordered the release of a total of nine people t said were jailed in unfair trials. The Court said that the trials had violated the constitution and international law - but it also ordered new trials.

It also nullified a ruling in which 12 legislators lost their parliamentary seats for defecting last July from Yameen’s ruling party. Yameen lost his majority in the 85-member legislature after the defections.

The unrest began in 2015 when Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, was jailed on "terrorism" charges relating to the arrest of a judge during his tenure. The trial declared unfair by the UN, prompted widespread protests and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of dissidents.

 

Nasheed, who has been in exile in the United Kingdom but wants to contest a presidential poll this year, had sought U.N. help to restore his political rights.

On 7 February 2012, Nasheed resigned as president under disputed circumstances, following weeks of protests by the opposition, which had then been joined by a majority of military and police forces. The next day Nasheed stated that he had been forced to resign "at gunpoint" by police and army officers.