South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid this morning cancelled parliamentary sittings until the government releases MP Abdulla Yameen from MNDF “protection” on ‘Aarah’, the presidential retreat.

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has meanwhile issued a statement calling on the government to release Yameen from his ‘protection’ at Aarah.

“On July 15 the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) arrested Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and since then it has been five days and he has not been presented to court,” HRCM said in a statement.

“He is held in custody against article number 49 of the constitution,” the commission claimed.

“Although he was isolated for his own protection, violating article 49 is unconstitutional, and therefore the HRCM calls on the government to follow the constitution and release Yameen immediately.”

The statement cited article number 48(D), which states that any person arrested should be brought before a judge to determine the validity of the detention period, and claimed that defence forces did not follow the article.

“We note that the defence forces have not attended the criminal court and have ignored the court’s order to summon Yameen to court,” the statement added.

The MNDF told parliament in a letter read out in yesterday Yameen was not being held pending criminal investigation, but for his own “protection” based on “secret” information received on July 15.

In its statement, HRCM claimed that “as the Maldives is a country which has a infant democracy, the people of the Maldives and the government should uphold the constitution and democratic principles.”

The commission said that to ensure people’s confidence in a democratic system of government, it was important to establish a culture that respected human rights, justice, and equality in Maldivian society.

The MNDF maintains Yameen was taken to the Presidential retreat for his own protection and on his request.

However in a phone call with Minivan News, Yameen, who is accused by the government of corruption and treason, claimed the MNDF took him to the retreat forcibly in an attempt to cool the situation in Male’.