25 January 2016, Male; The Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon today has criticised former President Mohamed Nasheed for exploiting the terms of a 30-day medical release to embark on a lobbying and media campaign abroad.
Mr Nasheed made a direct request to the Government for a temporary release to undergo surgery for a back ailment. Despite the medical expertise being available in the Maldives, the government granted a temporary release for Mr Nasheed to seek treatment in the United Kingdom.
The Maldives government acted in good faith during the negotiations over Mr Nasheed’s release; similarly it has not sought to politicise what was seen as an important step to ensure Mr Nasheed’s good health is maintained.
However, since Mr Nasheed’s arrival in London, his party, aids and advisors have organised multiple meetings and media engagements with the sole aim of politicising his trip. Mr Nasheed’s ability to undergo this busy itinerary undermines the notion that his medical condition is grave enough to warrant treatment abroad.
The Government also notes its profound disappointment that a member of its London High Commission was denied entry to Mr Nasheed’s forthcoming London Press Conference by his American PR team, despite a request many days in advance. This is in stark contrast to the unimpeded access given to the press conferences of Mrs Amal Clooney and Mr Nasheed’s US advisers during their last visit to the Maldives.
Finally, the government would like to remind its international partners, the media and other stakeholders of the serious charges facing Mr Nasheed. The arrest of a Criminal Court Judge is a grave abuse of executive office – and is something he has admitted to ordering. A Supreme Court appeal is underway and the Government hopes the former President respects the legal channels made available to him to challenge his conviction.
Commenting, the Foreign Minster of the Maldives Dunya Maumoon said:
‘It is now clear the former President has been disingenuous at best, and misleading at worst, in seeking medical leave in the UK. The Government acted in good faith in allowing Mr Nasheed to travel abroad for treatment. Yet it is now clear his primary goal was to court publicity in the United Kingdom. This is not medical leave, but media leave.
‘Mr Nasheed’s PR advisers’ vetting of attendees at his press conference reveals, as many in the Maldives witnessed during his tenure as President, that he does not practice what he preaches when it comes to freedom of speech.
‘No amount of PR stunts will alter the fact that Mr Nasheed lost an election that was recognised as in line with international standards by the EU, amongst others. Neither will it change the fact that Mr Nasheed ordered the arrest of a senior judge – a serious crime that he admitted to himself in a BBC interview – the charge in which he was convicted. The judge in question had released one of Nasheed’s most vocal critics: that he was then arrested puts pay to the idea that Mr. Nasheed believes in freedom of expression.
‘The opportunity for Mr Nasheed to clear his name remains in the Maldives, not in the TV studios of London or Los Angeles. The Supreme Court appeal in Mr Nasheed’s conviction will continue while he meets politicians and the media in London. We look forward to his return and wish him speedy recovery from his medical treatment.’