UN urges Maldives to allow ex-president to contest elections

Geneva, April 16 (IANS) The UN Human Rights Committee on Monday urged the Maldivian government to allow former President Mohamed Nasheed to stand for office, including the upcoming presidential election.

Nasheed, who was the President of the Maldives between 2008 and 2012, was charged with crimes related to terrorism after his term ended and sentenced to 13 years in jail in 2015 as well as barred from running in a presidential election for 16 years, reports Efe news.

“The UN human rights experts found that the judicial proceedings in which Nasheed was convicted were based on vague legislation, contained serious flaws and violated his right to a fair trial under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” the Committee said in a statement.

It also observed that restrictions on Nasheed’s right to stand for office violated his right to political participation under article 25 of the ICCPR.

“Political rights can be suspended or restricted only in exceptional circumstances and under certain conditions. And judicial proceedings that violate the right to fair trial can render the resulting restriction of political rights arbitrary,” said Sarah Cleveland, a member of the committee.

The committee’s decision, taken on April 4 and made public on Monday, urged the Maldives to quash Nasheed’s conviction and if necessary conduct a new trial to ensures fair trial guarantees.

“As a party to the ICCPR, Maldives is obliged to make full reparation to individuals whose rights have been violated. We have asked Maldives to inform us within 180 days about the measures they have taken to implement our decision,” said Yuval Shany, vice-chair of the Human Rights Committee.

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