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US urges Maldives to release all political prisoners

Abdul Gayoom Photograph: (Zee News Network)

PTI Washington, USA Jun 15, 2018, 09.19 AM (IST)

Deeply dismayed at the conviction of the Maldivian Supreme Court justices and former president Abdul Gayoom, the United States has called on the Maldivian government to release political prisoners and ensure that parties and candidates are able to campaign freely.

"The United States is deeply dismayed by reports that former Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, and Justice Ali Hameed have been sentenced to prison without being offered necessary procedural protections, including a fair trial with the opportunity to call defence witnesses and have a defence counsel," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said yesterday.

This outcome, she said, cast a serious doubt on the commitment of the government of Maldives to the rule of law and calls into question its willingness to permit a free and fair presidential election in September. 

Nauert said the US joins other members of the international community in calling on President Yameen and the government of Maldives to uphold the rule of law, respect the constitutionally guaranteed legal protections and rights of all Maldivians, permit the full and proper functioning of the Parliament and judiciary, and abide by Maldives' international human rights obligations and commitments. 

"We further call on the government to release political prisoners, ensure that parties and candidates are able to campaign freely, and take other necessary measures to restore the credibility of the electoral process and create conditions that ensure the right and opportunity for all citizens to participate in genuinely free and fair presidential elections," Nauert said. 

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