Maldives to charge former president, chief justice with bribery

COLOMBO: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen will lift a 45-day state of emergency on Thursday and the government will bring bribery charges against former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the chief justice, said a senior Maldives diplomat. Yameen imposed a state of emergency on February 5 for 15 days to annul a February 1 Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. He later extended the state of emergency for another 30 days with parliament approval, a move challenged by the opposition.
Under the emergency, Yameen’s administration arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the chief justice, another Supreme Court judge, and a Supreme Court administrator on allegations of attempting to overthrow the government. They have all rejected the charges.
“Unless something unusual happens, we should not have emergency by Thursday,” Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Maldives Ambassador for Sri Lanka told a Foreign Correspondents Association forum on Monday.
“The government has no intention of extending it any further barring very unusual circumstances like widespread violence. The intention is to do away with this state of emergency when the current 30 day period expires on March 22.”
Shareef said bribery charges against Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed have been sent to the prosecutor general and that bribery charges will also be brought against former president Gayoom and Supreme Court administrator Hassan Sayeed.
“That is definite. We know that charges will be pressed against the four of them,” Shareef said.
Gayoom is accused of bribing the three legal professionals to overthrow the Yameen government.
Despite opposition claims that hundreds of people have been arrested under the state of emergency, Shareef said only 38 had been arrested so far while others were “detained and released”.
— Reuters