The United Nations on Friday urged the government of the Maldives to respect the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to release nine convicted politicians for retrial and to reinstate 12 unseated lawmakers.
The apex court in an unprecedented order late Thursday overturned the convictions of nine political prisoners: former President Mohamed Nasheed, Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim, Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, along with former Vice President Ahmed Adheeb, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhusin, former magistrate Ahmed Nihan, and local businessman Hamid Ismail.
It also reinstated 12 lawmakers who were ousted after the court’s previous ban on floor crossing, which was also nullified in Thursday night’s order.
The UN has issued a press briefing, calling on the government to fully respect the top court’s ruling.
The statement highlighted that the UN has been raising concerns over the political situation in the Maldives for several years, and said that it would be closely monitoring developments and the reactions of the government, police and military.
The UN further expressed concerns over conflicts that arose between security forces and the people that gathered in front of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s main hub in capital Male in the aftermath of the court order. The statement urged security forces “to show understanding and restraint, and to act in full accordance with international laws”, and the people to protest or celebrate peacefully.
While the opposition and several international forces have also called on the government to unconditionally comply with the Supreme Court’s order, the government has said that it would analyse the legitimacy of the ruling before executing it. The attorney general also stated in a press conference that the state would be submitting concerns and inquiries regarding the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the opposition and lawyers of the released political prisoners and unseated MPs continue to express concern over the government’s delay in enforcing the apex court’s order as none of the prisoners have officially been released from custody yet.