Maldives parliament approves measure to eliminate political party membership for inmates

Maldives parliament approves measure to eliminate political party membership for inmates

[JURIST] The legislative body of Maldives, the People’s Majlis [official website], amended the Prison and Parole Act on Monday to remove an inmate’s right to membership in a political party. The measure is known as the Bill on Amendment to the Prison and Parole Act, Act No. 14/2013 [official press release]. Critics of the measure claim the law was passed to separate [AP report] former president Mohamed Nasheed [JURIST news archive] from his political affiliations and remove him from politics. The law passed by a vote of 42-2 in the nation’s 85-seat parliament. Allegedly, the People’s Majlis is considering another measure to eliminate Nasheed’s allowance and security, which are provided to him in his capacity as former president.

The government of Maldives has generated significant controversy over the last three years, following Nasheed’s resignation in 2012. Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of Maldives when he took office in 2008, following 30 years of rule by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In March 2013 Maldives police authorities arrested Nasheed [JURIST report] for missing a court appearance over charges that he illegally detained a judge prior to his resignation. Last month Nasheed was arrested again, this time for alleged violations of the country’s anti-terrorism law [JURIST report]. Two weeks ago the Criminal Court of Maldives sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison [JURIST report] for terrorism-related charges. Nasheed’s trial garnered international attention from civil rights advocates. Immediately following the trial UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein condemned the trial proceedings for violations of due process [JURIST report]. The commissioner identified several flaws in the trial process, including the trial began one day after Nasheed’s arrest and his sentencing was completed after 19 days.