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Maldives opposition planning a terrorist attack, alleges govt lawmaker

Mohamed Visham
18 July 2016, MVT 13:59
Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed pictured during the parliament sitting on Monday. PHOTO/PARLIAMENT SECRETARIAT
Mohamed Visham
18 July 2016, MVT 13:59

Newly formed opposition coalition is planning to overthrow the present government with a terrorist attack, a senior government lawmaker alleged Monday.

Speaking during the parliament sitting on Monday, Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed insisted that the government remained unfazed by the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) efforts against the government.

The MUO brings together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

The alliance had said it will seek to oust incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and form an interim government to ensure free and fair elections scheduled in 2018.

The MUO was established in London where key members of the opposition are in exile including Yameen's first vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Riyaz later told Mihaaru that plotting to overthrow the government constitutes as an act of terrorism.

A sit-down of the newly formed opposition coalition in UK.

Supporting the opposition leaders in the UK is backing an act of terrorism, he added.

"Calls to overthrow a democratically elected government is an act of terrorism. If they [opposition figures] are allowed to plot a government overthrow on UK soil, that means Britain is supporting terrorism," the outspoken ruling party lawmaker stressed.

Nasheed’s jailing on a terror charge last year was a key trigger of the current political crisis. He was allowed to leave the country in an internationally brokered deal in January.

Jameel had meanwhile fled to the UK last July, days before he was impeached in a controversial vote. At the time, the Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim were already in jail.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail last year but was given asylum in Britain after traveling there for back surgery. Nazim is serving an 11-year jail term for possessing a firearm, and former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week on two counts of terrorism charges, including an assassination attempt on the president.

All these convictions have been decried for a lack of due process.

The MUO, meanwhile is planning to hold its first rally on Thursday despite the government refusing to grant a venue for the "illegal" opposition alliance.