Nasheed’s lawyers ask UK for targeted sanctions

Nasheed’s lawyers ask UK for targeted sanctions
November 27 13:05 2015

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyers have submitted to the UK government a list of potential targets for sanctions, prompting a ruling party MP to claim the opposition leader’s supporters will be banned from Saudi Arabia and China.

The list of targets is being kept confidential, but a source close to the Maldivian Democratic Party suggested the “list includes some judges, senior officials and cabinet ministers, and resort owners who prop up the regime.”

The call for sanctions follow the government’s refusal to release Nasheed, sentenced to prison on a terrorism charge, despite a UN human rights panel finding his imprisonment arbitrary and illegal.

Outlining authoritarian reversals in the Maldives, Nasheed’s lawyers said in a statement: “It is time for the international community to take concrete action against Yameen’s regime. The list submitted by Nasheed’s counsel to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office identifies the members and supporters of the regime who are most responsible for the most serious human rights violations in the country today.

“Taking targeted action against these individuals, including through travel bans and asset freezes, would be fully consistent with the UK policy to deny entry in its territory to a person where there is “independent, reliable and credible evidence of [his or her] involvement in human rights abuses”.

“The US and EU have also, on numerous occasions, imposed sanctions against individuals who threaten democracy and violate due process rights.”

The submission of the list follows a meeting between Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire, Nasheed’s wife Laila Ali and his counsel Ben Emmerson QC and Amal Clooney.

President Abdulla Yameen insists he will not bow down to foreign pressure to release Nasheed, saying it is up to the Supreme Court to review his conviction.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the state’s appeal of Nasheed’s sentence.

Meanwhile, MP of the Progressive Party of the Maldives Riyaz Rasheed threatened to ban MDP supporters from performing the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia and China.

Yameen, condemning Western criticism of his regime, has increasingly turned to China and Saudi Arabia for support.

Nasheed’s supporters are gearing up for a fourth mass protest in Malé today. The police have warned the MDP to confine the protest to a specific area and threatened to disperse the protest by midnight.