President Solih Mistreats Opposition Leader Yameen; Locked in Solitary
Sources have reported that Mr Abdulla Yameen the leader of the largest opposition party in the Maldives, currently held in detention under a court order, is being kept in solitary confinement. Mr Yameen had, until September 2018, been the only democratically-elected president to complete his term in the island republic.
The sources have claimed that he is kept in a cell in which one could not make more than “20 paces” and is isolated from the rest of the prison population. Mr Yameen generally suffers from back-pain and used to seek physiotherapy; a treatment that is currently generally denied to him during his detention. He is unable to exercise regularly to maintain his physical health.
Mr Yameen has been brought to the capital Male, twice, from his cell in the island of Maafushi due to his deteriorating health.
Mr Yameen’s legal team have attempted to appeal the court’s detention order, yet the hearing yet to be scheduled by the court.
Analysts suggest that the Maldivian Democratic Party-led leftist government is manipulating the judiciary to weaken the opposition well ahead of April’s parliamentary elections. Mr Yameen’s detention; which has been criticized by the former Deputy Prosecutor General, Hussain Shameem; as well as the nature of the charges laid against him contain many irregularities.
High-profile “political” prisoners in the Maldives generally enjoy benefits often denied to the rest of the prison population. They are allowed to leave their prison cells, they are allowed to socialize with other inmates, their cells are of a finer quality than other cells. There is evidence to suggest that some prisoners had also enjoyed access to their own mobile devices.
Among these privileged prisoners was the current Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Imran Abdulla.
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has a history of targeting Mr Yameen. During the first, short- lived, MDP administration: Mr Yameen had been arrested without warrant and kept in custody until a court had demanded his freedom. He was later compensated for his trouble.
Mr Mohamed Nasheed, the president of the MDP and former president of the Maldives, had also established a presidential commission to “investigate” Mr Yameen and his half-brother, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom.
The newly-elected President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is following in the same footsteps as Mr Nasheed.
It would appear that instead of delivering on presidential pledges, the newly-elected commission are busy with cracking down on the political opposition. Within the last two months, a council member of the opposition party; the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), two vice presidents of the PPM, Mr Ahmed Nihan–a prominent MP representing the PPM–and his wife have been summoned to the police for questioning.
The upcoming parliamentary elections are of vital import for the ruling MDP, and it is very clear that they wish to weaken the competition for seats.