Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) has expressed concern over the curtailing of the rights of opposition MPs and the escalating situation in the Maldives.
This is the second statement that PGA issued after Parliament sitting halted on July 24.
In both statements, the group called on the government to “respect the rights of every individual including parliamentarians, in accordance with national, as well as international, legal and democratic norms and obligations.”
PGA noted that 45 MPs from the United Opposition (MUO), in conjunction with those who had defected from the ruling party, filed a no-confidence motion against Parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh which was deemed invalid because of “a questionable anti-defection ruling from the Supreme Court that disqualified four ex-ruling party members who backed the impeachment.”
“The situation in the Maldives is escalating. Judicial decisions have become arbitrary, using various legal tools to curtail the opposition’s freedom of speech, in particular when criticizing the judiciary’s lack of independence from the government’s policies. Six MPs to date have been stripped of their parliamentary seat. Twelve opposition legislators could be charged by the Prosecutor General’s office with criminally entering the People’s Majlis building on 24 July 2017, despite the directives of the military and police officers.”
“The Speaker of Parliament, who was impeached by a majority of legislators, has refused to convene a parliamentary session. On 1 August 2017, the People’s Majlis was cancelled due to a fire in one of the parliament’s bathrooms, which Opposition legislators claim was an excuse not to convene a parliamentary session and thus, prevent the Speaker’s impeachment from being enforced. “
The MPs facing charges for entering the Parliament building are:
1. Hinnavaru MP Ibrahim Mohamed Salih (MDP’s Parliamentary Group Leader)
2. Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz (JP’s deputy leader)
3. North Henveiru MP Abdulla Shahid (former Speaker of Parliament)
4. North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam
5. South Henveiru MP Mohamed Abdul Kareem
6. West Maafannu MP Mohamed Falah
7. Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain
8. Central Hithadhoo MP Ibrahim Didi
9. Nolhivaram MP Hussain Areef
10. Villingili MP Saud Hussain
11. Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim
12. Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth
MPs Waheed, Saud, and Ameeth are currently in police detention.
The court also ordered Dhiggaru MP Faris Ahmed to be detained for the remainder of his trial on attempted bribery of MPs.
Qasim Ibrahim, the Maamigili MP and leader of Jumhoree Party (JP), is also on trial for attempted bribery of MPs.