The president’s office has hit back at detained former vice president’s claims that President Abdulla Yameen had ordered the commutation of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s 13-year jail term to house-imprisonment.
Ibrahim Muaz Ali, the president’s spokesman, said former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s claims were baseless and that of a man who stood “accused of dangerous activities.”
Nasheed’s return to jail in August last year after an eight-week period of house arrest resulted in the collapse of talks between the government and the opposition and a stalemate that continues today.
Nasheed had been sentenced in March on a terrorism charge in a trial widely criticized for due process violations. At the time, Adeeb was seen as Yameen’s most trusted minister and went on to assume the vice presidency in July.
In a surreal turn of events, Adeeb was jailed just three months afterwards on a charge of plotting to kill Yameen, and is now on trial for corruption and terrorism.
Adeeb’s lawyers yesterday said that Yameen had ordered the Maldives Correctional Services to issue a document confirming Nasheed’s transfer to house-arrest, but later returned him to jail, claiming the document was forged.
In response, Muaz said: “Maldivians do not accept such an allegation against the head of state by a man who is accused of dangerous activities. I believe he is attempting to gain the support and love from a particular group. He is no longer sure of what to say and what not to say.”
The police, at the Maldives Correctional Service’s request, have launched an investigation into the document that Nasheed’s lawyers had presented as proof of commutation, Muaz noted, adding that he hoped the police are able to clear up the truth behind the incident as soon as possible.
Nasheed’s lawyers said they have conducted an independent forensic analysis of the document, which revealed that the same state seal that had been used on all prior MCS documents was also used on the disputed document.
Adeeb’s lawyers in a statement on Monday said: “The government decided to permanently transfer President Nasheed to house-imprisonment and the president ordered the Maldives Correctional Services to issue a document confirming the transfer. Acting on this order, the MCS delivered the document to President Nasheed.
“The vice president [Adeeb] confirms that the document was issued in accordance with set procedures and wishes to assert that he had no role in disputing its authenticity.”
Muaz questioned the timing of Adeeb’s comments, noting he had failed to flag the issue when Nasheed was returned to jail in August.
The police investigation is ongoing.
Nasheed’s brother Ibrahim Nasheed and lawyer Hassan Latheef were summoned to the police headquarters last week and asked to identify the MCS employee who had delivered the document.
The opposition has repeatedly called on the government to honour the commutation, and Nasheed’s lawyers have lodged a separate case at the High Court asking for an order to enforce the commutation.
The criminal court had previously rejected a petition by lawyers challenging the legality of the opposition leader’s re-imprisonment.