Maldivians are “suffering unjustly for their political work,” said MP Faris Maumoon following his release from custody, urging the government to free key opposition figures.
Faris, who was in custody for six months while on trial for bribery, was given a conditional release on Thursday by the Criminal Court.
The court ordered his release after lawyers appealed for permission to have an independent third party analyse forensic evidence related to Faris’s phone.
Speaking outside the court, Faris told reporters there were others who were in the same situation he had been in.
“Both in prison and in other ways, people who are suffering unjustly for their political work. So I want to call for their release. Free Sheikh Imran. Free president Mohamed Nasheed. Free Gasim Ibrahim. Free Nazim. Everyone must be ensured the rights guaranteed under the Maldivian constitution,” he said.
He added that even if he was no longer in detention, the bribery charges against him continued in court and he called on prosecutors to withdraw the case.
He also thanked his family and supporters for protesting his “illegal and arbitrary arrest” vowing to remain steadfast in the opposition’s agenda.
“I can see hopeful outcomes. From what has happened today as well, we should be encouraged. We have not lost hope. Maldivian people have not lost hope.”
All opposition leaders, aside from Faris’s father and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, are either in prison or exile as the Maldives prepares for this year’s presidential polls.
The UK’s ambassador to the Maldives James Dauris welcomed Faris’ release, but said political leaders were facing sentences that barred them from standing in the election.
“Democracy involves choice. Maldivians deserve freedom to choose,” he tweeted.