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AG calls for "justice and recourse" on "dark day" for Maldives

Shahudha Mohamed
07 February 2020, MVT 18:36
Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
07 February 2020, MVT 18:36

Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath, on Friday, made a statement that the Transitional Justice Bill would be "a step towards building an accountable state to ensure rule of law and justice must always prevail".

February 7, 2020, marks eight years to the alleged coup d'état that forced former President Mohamed Nasheed to step down in 2012.

Nasheed announced his resignation amidst protests by the then-opposition parties over the illegal detainment of former Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed. The situation escalated when factions of Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) joined the protests as well. Some believe that Nasheed resigned under duress from conspirators while others believe he stepped down voluntarily.

The Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI), mandated with investigating the incidents leading to Nasheed's resignation, declared that the change of power on February 7, 2012, was "legal and constitutional" and Nasheed's resignation was "voluntary and of his own free will", following their probe into the riots.

In December 2019, Nasheed stated that the 'coup' that prompted his resignation will be investigated when work on the Transitional Justice Bill concludes.

Referring to the events of 2012, Riffath tweeted that "today would always be a dark day in our history. Justice & recourse is essential for seeking closure to move on".

Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath's tweet on the occasion of February 7. PHOTO: TWITTER

He further stated that "today's hope" was to properly investigate cases of state institutions or their top officials violating the human rights and independence of the people, publicise the truth, prevent the repetition of such crimes, pass and ratify the Transitional Justice Bill to ensure a government that holds perpetrators accountable and grant justice for those who were victims of such situations.

The Transitional Justice Bill, currently tabled at the Parliament, aims to investigate any systematic acts committed by a state institution, or the head of a state institution, that violate human rights or the independence of the people, since 2012 until President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih assumed office.

Eydhafushi MP Hisaan Hussain also voiced her support for the bill, iterating that "institutional reform, justice, truth and reconciliation is necessary for our society to come to terms with what happened that day and thereafter".

Eydhafushi MP Hisaan Hussain's tweet about the alleged coup. PHOTO: TWITTER

Following Nasheed's resignation in 2012, the then-Vice President Mohamed Waheed was sworn in for office. This decision created a huge rift between Nasheed and Waheed that exists even today.

Waheed's term exceeded to six days following November 11, as the second round of elections was held on November 16 following which Abdul Yameen Abdul Gayoom was sworn in as president the next day.

The then-opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) held the position that the powers of the Executive should have been handed over to then-Speaker of Parliament, Abdulla Shahid.

Waheed was elected as Vice President to former President Nasheed, the successor to the country's longest-serving president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The dispute over Waheed's presidency exceeding the term marked an extraordinary situation not remedied by the constitution, where the electoral body failed to elect a new president in time and the powers of the executive were questioned for the first time.

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