In the charges pressed against President Mohamed Nasheed by the state, he requested the legal team to work towards defending himself and the honour, pride and integrity of the Commander in Chief of Maldives and the Maldivian Security Forces along with military personnel.
In this light, we would like to highlight that due to the manner in which the terrorism charges against President Nasheed have been framed and as it involves proving that Maldives National Defence Force had abducted an individual and detained him in Kaafu Atoll Girifushi – a military training camp, the charges help shape public perception of the Maldivian security forces as being a terrorist group willing to facilitate and implement terrorist activities of the government.
Therefore, we note concern over the fact that the case lodged against President Nasheed involves the safety, security and interests of the Maldivian people and the International Community and puts the country’s peace, sovereignty and autonomy at risk.
Further, it must also be highlighted that the Prosecutor General in 2012, initially charged President Nasheed for the unlawful detention of an individual who was not found to have committed any illegal activities, to prosecute President Nasheed for his actions as an individual. After the Prosecutor General withdrew those charges and refiled terrorism charges against President Nasheed at the Criminal Court, the nature of the charges have evolved to prosecute him in the capacity of the Commander in Chief, senior members of the Maldivian military and the Maldives National Defence Force as a whole.
If members of the international community begin to perceive the Maldivian Security Forces especially the Defence Force as a terrorist organisation, all diplomatic ties between the international community and the Defence Force will suffer with the inclusion of the reluctance to exchange information vital for the security and safety of the Maldivian territory and to provide training and education opportunities for military personnel.
Thereby, in order to assure the International Community changes are expected to be brought to the ranks of the military from top to bottom, creating the issue of many individuals facing unfair dismissal and the violation of their right to willfully serve the nation in the capacity of military personnel. We do not wish to see the dismissal of security forces and the potential ripples effects it will cause for the families of the service personnel and the Maldivian community at large.
In this regard, due to the sensitive nature of the case, we requested for adequate time for the preparation of the case, to not only defend President Nasheed but also uphold the name, pride and integrity of the Maldivian Security Forces. Despite this, we were forced to recuse ourselves from attending the trial of the case as we were not provided adequate time for the preparation and as we do not believe that President Nasheed nor the Maldivian Security Forces are being provided a free and fair trial in which their constitutional and legal rights will be respected and protected.
Although we have recused from the Criminal Court trial of the case, we will continue to work towards ensuring that President Nasheed’s rights are not violated and that he is protected from any ill-treatment or torture.
-President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team-