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Ex-Pres alleges Indian military collusion was imminent in case of bloodshed

Mohamed Rehan
14 August 2022, MVT 15:18
During the press conference on Thursday evening-- Photo: Fayaz Moosa/Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
14 August 2022, MVT 15:18

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has made serious allegations regarding the political turmoil during the culmination of his administration.

The former head of state claimed that following Maldives apex court's decision to release several political prisoners, the Indian military had been ready to send troops into the island nation in case the political altercations had led to bloodshed.

Ex-President Yameen made the accusations during a four-hour long press briefing on Thursday evening, August 11. During the briefing, the former head of state had spoken in great length about the controversial February 1, 2018 Supreme Court verdict.

The verdict ordered the release of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who had been imprisoned then on charges of fraud; and former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim, imprisoned on terrorism charges.

Following the verdict, Supreme Court's then Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and former Justice of the apex court Ali Hameed had convinced members of the law fraternity of possible bloodshed between supporters of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and supporters of the former VP and Defense Minister.

A military battleship of India had been stationed near Maldivian waters amid the chaotic environment of the then presidential administration, said Yameen.

"We were treading through dangerous waters. Supreme Court justices had been responsible for this outcome, and these are facts," Yameen alleged.

Following the Supreme Court verdict, the Chief of Defense Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam and Defense Minister Adam Shareef had met with apex court judges discreetly for talks. During their discussions, implications of anti-government sentiments were made.

According to Yameen, these individuals had conspired to instigate nationwide unrest that would have led to 'bloody' consequences.

Police Force on the ready!

Yameen further accused the apex court verdict, unanimously agreed by the five-judges bench had been endorsed by the Maldives Police Service. Prior to the verdict officially was made, the decision was discreetly shared with former Commissioner of Police Ahmed Areef.

Areef moved prepare a strong force of the department's officers if and when they were needed to counter Yameen's administration.

Yameen claims of contacting Areef during the morning after the following day, after the verdict decision was shared with the commissioner. Upon inquiring about awareness of the order, Areef denied being privy.

Moreover, Yameen claims that officers who were likely to deny orders, had been transferred to Dhaal atoll Vaanee; where police training exercises are executed.

"He [Areef] was preparing to enforce the court order by any means. He was not returning my calls, after which I contacted his deputy who had confirmed to me that Police Service will be upholding the apex court's decision and enforce it accordingly," Yameen commented.

Yameen had also claimed that the commissioner had not acquired legal advise from either the Home Minister of the Attorney General before the decision to enforce the order was made. The police force was being set up for a revolt, added the former head of state.

This was the point where the political backdrop treaded into 'dangerous waters', claimed Yameen.

Yameen had met with Shareef, Commissioner of Police along with Attorney General Mohamed Anil, Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham and Legal Affairs Minister of President's Office Azima Shukoor. It was at this meeting, Shareef addressed to Yameen claiming the attorney general's advise had been to uphold supreme court's verdict.

Responding to this, the former head of state had rejected to honor the court's order.

The former president's rejection to uphold the order was met with shock by those who had flanked him at the meeting. He claims that the order read that the justices who issue the order cannot be summoned in front of an investigative body to question about the order, which had been suspicious.

"Prisoners should be released according to the established procedures. They must be summoned before the court for hearing, to achieve this. The state's prosecutor general had not been aware of such legalities, and these decisions cannot be made solely by the apex court," Yameen had presumably said to the members in the aforementioned meeting.

"I had reiterated my stance, told that the order was illicit, and I will not be enforcing it, after which the lawyers had agreed accordingly," Yameen added further.

After his meeting with the advocates, Yameen had met with the top-brass of Maldives army since he suspected the involvement of Maldives Police Service in attempting to enforce the court order. The top-brass had agreed with the sentiments of Yameen, who addressed that the military will intervene any attempts made to enforce the court verdict.

Post this meeting, Yameen had reportedly informed President's Office Minister to remove Commissioner of Police from his designation. After Areef was dismissed from police, Abdulla Nawaz was appointed as the temporary in-charge of the department. Nawaz along with military's top-brass during a live-tv broadcast affirmed their stance to intervene the court order from being enforced.

Despite learning that the military will no longer be backing the court's decision, the Supreme Court's judges had rejected returning then President's calls.

This in turn led to an intense debate among court justices, after which some of them had conspired to apprehend senior government officials to achieve the means of enforcing the order.

Yameen further claimed that justices Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed were not arrested due to the court order, but rather to inquire the reason behind their decision.

After this entire debacle, former Managing Director of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Ahmed Saimon had contacted the Chief of Staff of Muliaage Ahmed Mustafa, to confirm the justices were in talks to purchase multiple flats in Hulhumale'. Saimon claims Villa Shipping had provided guarantee towards the purchase, which had included purchase of plots from Malaysia as well.

The former head of state had accused the then court justices released the verdict after accepting bribes.