Former vice president Ahmed Adeeb’s family and supporters will join the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s mass protest on Friday.
“Ahmed Adeeb’s Team Adeeb has officially decided to join the alliance against tyranny,” former youth ministry coordinator Ali Shahid “Steps Ayya” told the press last night.
He described Adeeb’s detention on suspicion of links to the September 28 explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat as “a political arrest.” The government insists a bomb targeting the president had caused the explosion.
The MDP protest, titled “Minjuvaan” or emancipation, is aimed at pressuring Yameen to release political prisoners including former President Mohamed Nasheed.
Shahid said: “The allegations against Adeeb are political. Adeeb is being subject to tyranny and injustice. He has been deprived of his constitutional rights, his lawyers have been suspended and anyone who might help him is under threat.”
The Supreme Court suspended two of his lawyers while the police blocked a third from prison visits. Shahid himself was among several government officials dismissed soon after Adeeb’s arrest.
The former vice president is now facing charges of attempted murder, corruption, illegal weapons and bribery. He is also accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from resort leases.
Shahid raised fears the government may condemn Adeeb to death on charges of murder.
“Adeeb has two children… his family’s biggest fear is that this authoritarian government may implement the death penalty against him.”
The former vice president’s lawyer Hussain Shameem has previously raised the same concern, noting Adeeb is being investigated for attempted murder, and pointing to the government’s plans to build a facility to implement the death penalty at the Maafushi Jail.
Lawyers are also complaining over alleged discriminatory treatment, noting his family is only allowed to speak with him in the presence of police officers via a telephone.
The government’s refusal to bring Adeeb to Malé for remand hearings and medical consultations has also caused concern. An X-ray machine was taken to the detention facility on Dhoonidhoo Island last week when a doctor recommended a scan, according to Shameem.
Adeeb was impeached in an abrupt vote on November 5 called after Yameen declared an unprecedented state of emergency in the Maldives. He was not given the opportunity to speak in his defence.
At last night’s press conference, Shahid denounced the government’s claim of Adeeb’s involvement in the explosion: “We do not see any reason for Adeeb to harm President Yameen. If he had any intent to do so, he could have done so easier than this.”
Describing Adeeb as Yameen’s “shadow” Shahid said all of the former vice president’s actions as vice president and tourism minister were carried out on the orders of the president himself.
Adeeb is being framed, and the government is attempting to weaken him psychologically and physically, Shahid continued.
He warned the government that Adeeb continues to enjoy youth support, and that they are “not blind” and would not sit back and watch the injustice Adeeb is being subjected to.
The government has also declared a hunt for eight individuals linked to Adeeb. Interpol has issued red notices for three of them, Ishfah Ali Ahmed, Aseel Ahmed Mohamed and Allam Latheef Mohamed.
The arrest of an 18-year-old social media activist on the list in Sri Lanka on the orders of the Maldivian authorities sparked a diplomatic row earlier this month.
At least a dozen individuals, including high-ranking soldiers and top government officials, have been detained over the blast.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced that it found no evidence of a bomb on Yameen’s speedboat, but the government, citing forensic reports from Sri Lankan and Saudi Arabian experts, said it is convinced of the presence of a bomb.