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Ex-vice president returns after three years in exile

Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed went into exile before his impeachment in July 2015.



Former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed returned to the Maldives Saturday afternoon after living in exile in the United Kingdom for more than three years.

He was greeted at the airport by Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim and members of the JP’s leadership. Opposition lawmakers and Adhaalath Party leaders also welcomed Jameel but no one was present from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.

Along with former ministers Mohamed Maleeh Jamal and Abdulla Ameen, Jameel joined the JP in February to serve as a special advisor to Gasim. Jameel and his associates teamed up with Gasim whilst the tycoon was living in Frankfurt, Germany.

Gasim returned home on Thursday after more than a year in exile.

In the wake of President Abdulla Yameen’s heavy defeat in the September 23 election, several high-profile figures have also been released from prison, including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and three lawmakers.

After a teary reunion with his mother, Jameel told reporters he was overjoyed to be back home and expressed confidence in the coalition’s ability to govern and stay together.

He sternly criticised the president over the jailing of opponents, the falling out with allies and the politicisation of the judiciary. The Maldives has a second chance to return to constitutional democracy, he said.

After he was granted political refugee status by the British government, a warrant was issued for Jameel’s arrest in August 2016 over an alleged attempt to “kidnap” the president.

But he no longer fears arrest, Jameel told the press at the airport.

Jameel, who was Yameen’s running mate in the 2013 campaign, was impeached in July 2015.

In mid-2016, he was named leader of the Maldives United Opposition, a coalition formed in exile between the MDP, the Adhaalath Party and estranged former allies of the president.

The MUO was superseded by the new coalition formed after former president Gayoom joined forces with the opposition last year.

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