A resolution for the freedom of former president Mohamed Nasheed was submitted Wednesday with the support of 49 lawmakers from the 85-member parliament.
Thirteen lawmakers from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives signed the resolution, including formerly staunch allies of President Abdulla Yameen.
Submitted by MP Eva Abdulla from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, the resolution called on the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court to vacate Nasheed’s terrorism conviction.
It referred to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s 2015 ruling that Nasheed’s jailing was illegal and politically motivated.
The government’s rejection of the “non-binding opinion” was a violation of the country’s international obligations under the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it contended.
The government also remained defiant when the UN Human Rights Committee decided in March this year that Nasheed’s right to contest elections must be restored.
Nasheed was found guilty of ordering the “abduction” of a judge after a rushed and widely criticised trial in March 2015.
The Supreme Court upheld the verdict in June 2016.
Nasheed secured political asylum in the UK after he was granted medical leave from prison in January 2016.
He has since been living in exile in England and Sri Lanka.
Earlier this month, Nasheed announced his intention to return to the Maldives on November 1 despite the risk of imprisonment.
MDP chairman Hassan Latheef told the press Tuesday there was no need to seek a Supreme Court review of his conviction.
“There is no need to go to court to free a hostage,” he said.
“The whole world is saying that president Nasheed’s trial was conducted without due process rights and unjustly. Which country has not talked about this? The whole world is saying president Nasheed is not a criminal.”
On Tuesday, the president-elect’s spokeswoman echoed the Adhaalath Party’s call for a Supreme Court ruling to free opposition leaders.
“We believe that it will be a progressive step for the country’s stability if the Supreme Court justices make use of their ‘inherent mandate’ to review the part in the February 1 Supreme Court order concerning the release of political party leaders. Maldivians want stability for their country!” Mariya Ahmed Didi tweeted.
Nasheed was among nine prisoners whose convictions were quashed in the shock February 1 ruling, which branded their trials as politically motivated.
President Abdulla Yameen reacted by declaring a state of emergency. The unanimous Supreme Court order was “nullified” by a three-judge bench on February 6, a day after the security forces stormed the court and arrested two of the five justices, including the chief justice.
Submitted resolution to Parliament, calling for the implementation of the UNWGAD and UN Human Rights Committee decisions calling for the release of President @MohamedNasheed. Submitted with cross- party support, with 49 signatures. pic.twitter.com/mTIErm8mGb
— Eva Abdulla 🎈❓ (@evattey) October 24, 2018