Based on developments during the past year, RSF said the government continues to “persecute the independent media” after a new law criminalised defamation and allowed the authorities to shut down media outlets.
Four men were arrested on Monday during a series of police raids in Male over an intelligence tip off over a suspected terror plot, according to court documents and local media reports.
He was found with multiple stab wounds in the stairway of his apartment building in Malé at 3am on Sunday, and died soon after he was taken to the hospital.
The police claimed that Gasim was encouraging the overthrow of the government in his speeches at nightly opposition rallies. Leaving him free would impede the investigation as he could hide evidence and influence witnesses, they said.
The police said in a tweet after midnight on Friday that the case was sent to the Prosecutor General’s office after completing an investigation requested by the anti-corruption watchdog into alleged failure to reimburse the state.
The Maldives Independent and its former editor Zaheena Rasheed have been named the winners of Index on Censorship’s 2017 Freedom of Expression Journalism Award.
“The prosecutor general’s insistence on continuing this baseless case against Mohamed Wisam and Raajje TV is clearly intended to intimidate all journalists in the Maldives,” the CPJ said.
Maldives Development Alliance MP Mohamed Ismail had caused outrage when he declared during a parliament sitting in March last year that he had carried “sacks of money” to opposition MPs.
The MDP has refused to endorse the election commission’s voter registry for the upcoming local council elections, saying it is unable to verify the list because of missing identity card numbers.
The bill was introduced, debated, reviewed by a committee, and passed on the same day. After the normal sitting in the morning, Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed scheduled a sitting at night to vote on the bill.
The high court has released prominent social media activist Thayyib Shaheem on the condition that he refrains from defaming the government.
According to the president’s office, Dr S Jaishankar conveyed good wishes from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “assured that India will continue to assist and collaborate with the Maldives to enhance the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.”
At a preliminary hearing closed to the media and members of the public, Gasim pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery and attempting to influence voting and official conduct.
At a preliminary hearing Thursday morning, Judge Ahmed Shakeel rejected the state prosecutor’s request to detain Riyaz until the end of the trial, dismissing the prosecution’s argument that he could attempt to influence evidence in a separate case.
The Prosecutor General’s office has meanwhile pressed charges against Gasim and JP MP Abdulla Riyaz. The first hearings have been scheduled for Thursday morning.
“Finding amicable solutions to the issues facing the country today should not be a responsibility that falls exclusively on the government,” the foreign ministry said in response to widespread international concern over an intensifying crackdown on opposition leaders.
The ruling party-dominated parliament on Monday pushed through controversial changes to the rules of procedure to require a minimum of 42 signatures from the 85-member house to submit a no-confidence motion against the speaker or the deputy speaker.