India urges Maldives to restore credibility of political process
New Delhi [India], June 14 (ANI): India reiterated its advise to Maldives to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by releasing political prisoners, including former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, as per the statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday. "It is important for the Government of the Maldives to ensure credible restoration of the political process, as well as the rule of law before the elections are announced this year," the MEA statement said. It further read India believes that the imprisonment of the two was done without a fair trial, adding that it casts doubt on the commitment of the Maldivian government to uphold the rule of law. On Wednesday, Gayoom was sentenced to nineteen months of imprisonment after being found guilty of "obstructing justice" by not cooperating with the police investigation. Saeed along with the Supreme Court judge Justice Ali Hameed was awarded nineteen months of jail term each. The trio was arrested on charges of plotting a coup, shortly after a state of emergency was declared on February 5 and following a Supreme Court order to release nine political prisoners. They were handed over imprisonment for failing to hand over their mobile phone to investigators. India stressed that it has urged the Government of the Maldives to allow the Supreme Court and the Parliament, to function in a free and independent manner, and to permit genuine political dialogue between all political parties, since the beginning of the political crisis. Questioning the credibility of the entire process of the Presidential elections in September this year, the MEA also urged the government of Maldives to create the necessary conditions for the conduction of the Presidential Elections. Amnesty International slammed the conviction of Gayoom, Saeed and Hameed as "politically motivated" and said the trial did not meet international standards. On that note, in March, welcoming the revocation of the state of emergency in the Maldives, the MEA asserted that a number of concerns, expressed by the international community still remain to be addressed.
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