The opposition coalition of People’s National Congress (PNC) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), on Tuesday, discussed concerns regarding the treatment of jailed former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom with Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
The meeting, led by ex-president and PPM Special Advisor Dr Mohamed Waheed, was held at the High Commission of India. Leading members of both opposition parties, including former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel, joined the discussions.
The opposition claimed that the incumbent administration's actions regarding former president Yameen were unjust and impartial, asserting that his prison sentence was legally questionable.
Noting that Yameen still had considerable public support, a PPM media official stated that his imprisonment demonstrated the current government's lack of respect for democratic ideals.
In December 2019, the Criminal Court sentenced Yameen to five years in prison and implemented a fine of USD 5 million, on money laundering charges concerning the embezzlement of MVR 3.4 billion from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
The opposition coalition has maintained demands to free former President Yameen locally as well as on an international basis.
As part of Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla's official visit to Maldives, he conducted meetings with key members of the Maldivian government including President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, as well as several ministers including Minister of Defence Mariya Ahmed Didi, Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom, Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail and Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer.
In addition to state officials from the ruling coalition and representatives of the opposition coalition, Secretary Shringla has also met with Home Minister and Adhaalath Party Leader Imran Abdulla, Jumhooree Party Leader Qasim Ibrahim and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Furthermore, the Indian Foreign Secretary signed four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)s throughout the course of his official visit. These include a USD 100 million grant to partially finance the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project (GMCP) as well as two Memoranda of Agreement to execute high-impact community development projects (HICDPs) in Maldives.
Shringla's visit was undertaken in response to an invitation from Maldivian Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed and marks his first official visit to Maldives since being appointed as Foreign Secretary on January 29, 2020.