Exclusive | ‘India Must Rescue Our Democracy’: Former Maldivian VP
As the crisis continues in Maldives after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency earlier this week, former vice president of the country Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has sought India's intervention to "rescue the Maldivian democracy."
In an exclusive chat with The Quint, the former vice president of the Indian Ocean archipelago detailed the Maldivian government’s crackdown against institutions and Opposition leaders in his country, and outlines what role India can play to resolve the crisis.
Ahmed had served as the fourth vice president of Maldives from 2013 to 2015. Before that, he had also held the posts of minister of justice, minister of civil aviation and communication and minister of home affairs. However, Ahmed was impeached in 2015 on charges of attempting to stage a coup. He subsequently moved to the United Kingdom.
'India Must be Ready to Issue Punitive Measures Against the President'
Urging regional democracies, and especially India, to help rescue the Maldivian democracy, Supreme Court, and the Constitution, Ahmed said:
Indian government must place firm sanctions against the president, regime and government officials. The Indian government must also issue an ultimatum to the government of Maldives and the President to restore democracy and resolve issues democratically. Failing this, India must be prepared to issue punitive measures against the President, the regime and the government.
‘Govt Dragged and Arrested Chief Justice and a Senior Judge’
The former vice president also spoke about how it was the conflict between the government and the Supreme Court of Maldives that ignited the whole crisis in the island nation.
The crisis began when a surprise Supreme Court ruling ordered the release of imprisoned Opposition leaders. In addition to that, the court also reinstated 12 lawmakers who had been ousted for switching allegiance to the Opposition.
Since the Maldives Supreme Court announced its decision, our government refused to abide by it. It said that there are issues with the SC’s decision, which is why they will ensure it is not implemented. After this decision, the government attacked the SC, forcefully broke its doors and dragged the Chief Justice and a senior judge, and arrested them.Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, former vice president of Maldives, to The Quint
Notably, on Tuesday, 6 February, three Maldives SC justices annulled their own order to free a group of imprisoned Opposition politicians after two of its justices were arrested.
On 7 and 8 February, President Abdulla Yameen sent special envoys to three 'friendly nations' – China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the political crisis in Maldives during a phone call with US President Donald Trump on 8 February.
(With inputs from agencies)