Conservative MEPs welcome release of former Maldives President

20-Jan-2016 @ 1:0

Charles Tannock Charles Tannock

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

Charles Tannock Charles Tannock

 

Pressure from Conservative MEPs has played a key role in securing the release from jail of former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, who is travelling to the UK for medical treatment. Last month, along with their colleagues in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Conservative MEPs were instrumental in having the threat of targeted economic sanctions against senior government figures in the Maldives included in a European Parliament resolution.

It is understood the resolution, which also expressed concern about the conduct of Nasheed's trial, prompted the decision by the Maldives government to allow Nasheed to receive medical treatment abroad.

Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman Dr Charles Tannock said: "It is with huge relief that I learnt of the release of former President Nasheed. I met him some years ago and he is an inspirational figure for the people of the Maldives.  

"We must remember, however, that whilst he has been released the Maldives remain in the grip of an authoritarian government, returning to the bad days of Gayoom's 30 year dictatorship. We must keep up the pressure on the government there to see a return to democracy and targeted sanctions will be key to this."

Conservative International Development Spokesman Nirj Deva added: "While it has been a long time coming I am truly delighted to see compassion triumph over draconian and unnecessarily cruel, punitive restrictions. I want to thank my colleagues in the European Parliament for their urgency resolution in December which enforced targeted sanctions against top officials of the government of the Maldives and expressed dissatisfaction with the irregularities in the trial of former President Nasheed which has contributed to his release."  

Nasheed was jailed for 13 years last year on terrorism charges following a trial his lawyers claimed was biased and designed to end his political career. His need for medical treatment has been frequently highlighted by his legal team, which says his injuries were suffered in custody.

The Maldives government initially stipulated that Nasheed's brother must remain in the country but this condition was relaxed after negotiations. His brother is now travelling to the UK alongside him.

 

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