President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed (former President) were heavily criticized across the Maldivian social media spectrum over meeting the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman, who allegedly ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The presidential duo met with Prince Salman and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed on an official visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the invitation from the UAE government.
The outcry ensued following a tweet posted by the Spokesperson for the President Ibrahim Hood, accompanied with a casual picture of Prince Salman posing with his hands around President Solih and Nasheed beaming for the capture.
Within minutes, the Maldivian twitter-sphere was flooded with comments describing the duo's actions as "unacceptable", "shameful" and "disappointing".
Questions were posed, inquiring whether the President will "come back home and talk about justice for Yameen [Rasheed] and [Ahmed] Rilwan", two local journalists that are believed to be killed by religious extremists over differences in ideologies, after "smiling with a murderer".
In addition to locals, the international community also joined the conversation, drawing attention to the fact that Mohamed Nasheed was once a persecuted journalist, much like Khashoggi.
Neither the President nor Speaker Nasheed have as yet released a statement about the matter.
Jamal Khashoggi's murder which took place on October 2, 2018, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, tarnished the international reputation of Prince Salman. Turkish officials were the first to report the murder and have continued to press Saudi Arabia for information on the whereabouts of his dismembered body, which has yet to be found.
In November 2018, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) concluded that Khashoggi's murder was ordered by Prince Salman, the de facto ruler and heir to the Arab world's most powerful throne. However, Saudi authorities strongly deny the allegation.
A few days before the one-year anniversary of Khashoggi's death, the crown prince said in an interview with a US television that he takes "full responsibility" for Khashoggi's death but denied allegations that he ordered the killing.
Saudi prosecutors absolved the prince and stated around two dozen people implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against five men.