NATIONAL NEWS

India expresses dismay over Maldives political situation

New Delhi, June 14: India on Thursday expressed over the political situation in the Maldives where former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed have been sentenced to long terms in prison. A statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry said that since the beginning of the political crisis in the the Maldives in February when emergency was imposed, India has repeatedly urged the government of the Indian Ocean archipelago nation “to allow all institutions, including the Supreme Court and the Parliament, to function in a free and independent manner, and to permit genuine political dialogue between all political parties”.

The statement also said India believes that a democratic, stable and prosperous Maldives is in the interests of all its neighbours and friends in the Indian Ocean. “It reiterates its advice to the government of the Maldives to restore the credibility of the electoral and political process by immediately releasing political prisoners including former President Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and creating the necessary conditions for the participation of all political forces in the presidential elections.” On Wednesday, a court in the Maldives court sentenced Gayoom, accused of plotting to overthrow the government, to 19 months in prison for failing to cooperate with the police investigation. Yameen’s former vice president, Ahmed Adeeb, another Supreme Court justice, two former defence ministers, a prosecutor general and opposition lawmakers are among those who have been jailed during Yameen’s tenure following trials that have come under fire for alleged lack of fairness. A five-member Supreme Court bench in February ordered the release and retrial of Nasheed and other prisoners, calling their sentences politically motivated. (IANS)