The opposition has filed an emergency motion at the parliament over authorities’ refusal to present lawmakers, who are under arrest, to parliament sittings and committee meetings as per parliamentary regulations.
There are currently four lawmakers under arrest. The son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon is detained for allegedly bribing lawmakers, while Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Villingili MP Saud Hussain and Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth are under arrest for forcefully entering the parliament chambers on July 24 after the Elections Commission declared that they have been ousted.
The Criminal Court has remanded Waheed, Saud and Ameeth for 15 days but ordered to detain Faris until the end of his trial. However, the investigation into the bribery accusations against Faris is still ongoing.
The emergency motion, filed by member of main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy last Thursday, stated that withholding the four lawmakers from parliament sittings and committee meetings is a violation of Subject 205 of parliamentary regulations, which accord arrested lawmakers who have not been convicted the right to be present at parliament sessions.
MP Imthiyaz proclaimed in the motion that authorities are impeding lawfully elected parliamentarians from carrying out their mandate and responsibilities, which is not a power accorded to any authority. He also pointed out that the Constitution specifies the conditions under which lawmakers lose their seats, and that in case of conflict regarding the vacancy of a parliament chair, the Constitution accords only the Supreme Court the power to reach a decision.
Noting that the Elections Commission decided to oust MPs Ameeth, Waheed, Saud and Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed from their parliament seats without a court ruling, MP Imthiyaz stressed that the top court is yet to issue a verdict regarding their seats.
The four ousted lawmakers have filed at the Supreme Court to overthrow the Elections Commission’s decision. The top court has accepted their cases but is yet to announce a date to commence hearings.