The opposition coalition rallied Friday afternoon with the families of detainees arrested during a state of emergency declared in February over an alleged coup attempt.
The family members gathered outside the Maldivian Democratic Party meeting hall in Malé’s eastern waterfront, beneath a new billboard with the faces of more than 40 detainees that declared, ‘Everyone has the right to justice, Release all political prisoners!’
“My brother’s only crime is that he is a son of Gasim Ibrahim. And my father’s crime is not supporting the government,” said Khadheeja Sana, daughter of the exiled Jumhooree Party leader, in her first speech at a political rally.
“The result of my father not supporting the government was his unfair jailing and the bankrupting of his businesses.”
Sana said her brother, Ibrahim Siyad Gasim, has now been detained for two months as a “punishment” for the government facing foreign pressure to release her father last year.
The MP for Maamigili was controversially found guilty of attempted bribery and sentenced to more than three years in prison last August. He was later granted medical leave to seek treatment in Singapore, from where he secured a special permit from the German government to travel to Frankfurt.
Siyad Gasim, managing director of Gasim’s Villa conglomerate, is facing trial on charges of bribing Supreme Court justices.
President Abdulla Yameen contends that the top court instigated a coup and triggered a constitutional crisis with its February 1 order for the release of his jailed opponents and the reinstatement of opposition lawmakers.
Siyad is among 11 high-profile detainees charged over the alleged conspiracy to remove Yameen from office, a group that includes his half-brother and former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, two top judges, the ex-police chief and four lawmakers.
Speaking at the rally, MDP chairman Hassan Latheef said the joint opposition would not relent until the prisoners are freed as MP Mariya Ahmed Didi condemned “inhumane” conditions at the Dhoonidhoo detention centre.
Police officers pushed protesters onto pavements but stopped short of trying to disperse the crowd.
The rally concluded with a prayer, led by MP Ahmed Mahloof‘s father, for deliverance from the “tyranny” of the government and police.
Later on Friday, a team of opposition lawmakers led a rally on the Ihavandhoo island in the northernmost atoll, where parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih opened a new MDP haruge built by supporters after police dismantled their old meeting hall.
Siyaasee hayyareen dhookohlumah
Govaalaa Ihuthijaaj nimmalumah fahu Dhuaa kurun kuriah dhanee pic.twitter.com/n8JQrgIHo1
— MDP Secretariat (@MDPSecretariat) April 6, 2018
Yumna’s husband Nadheem, Qasim’s son Siyaad and Judicial Administrator Hassan Saeed’s Prison cell has no electricity, no light, no fan, no mattress & they aren’t allowed out of their cells. This is modern day #Torture #FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners #StopRemandForLife https://t.co/TDh2zTYymg
— Mariya Didi 🎈 (@MariyaDidi) April 7, 2018
— #JazeeraRaees (@Simwarr) April 6, 2018