UN Human Rights Committee asks Maldives to restore Mohamed Nasheed’s right to stand for President

Maldives must restore ex-President Mohamed Nasheed’s right to stand for office, including the office of President, the UN Human Rights Committee concluded in a finding made public on Monday.

The finding of violations of human rights was made in response to two individual complaints by Nasheed filed in 2013 and 2016.

In March 2015, Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment on charges of terrorism and was disqualified from running in presidential elections for 16 years.

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 also found that the resulting restrictions on Nasheed’s right to stand for office violated his rights 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, member of the UN Human Rights Committee.

The Human Rights Committee oversees implementation by States parties of the ICCPR.

The Committee’s decision of 4 April, which was made public on Monday, further directs Maldives to “quash the author’s conviction, review the charges against him taking into account the present Views, and, if appropriate, conduct a new trial ensuring all fair trial guarantees.”

The Maldives government has been asked to inform the Human Rights Committee within 180 days about the measures they have taken to implement the Committee’s decisions.

Shyamal Bikash Chakma

Shyamal Bikash Chakma is Public Editor of The aPolitical and a PhD candidate in Development Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and recipient of the Felix Scholarship 2017.
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