A group of migrant workers who had been ready to testify against MP Ali Riza (MDP - Milandhoo) are to be deported. MP Ali Riza is being accused by the State of having engaged in trafficking migrant workers.
A lawyer at the Prosecutor General's Office told The Maldives Journal that the PG is now prepared to withdraw the case against MP Riza. The reason for this withdrawal was that the government had decided to deport the migrant workers who had been willing to testify against MP Riza.
The source at the PGO said that MP Ali Riza was being accused of human trafficking, and the State's evidence against him were the testimonies of the migrants who had worked at Bodufinolhu. The migrants are being deported with the knowledge of the PG and the Maldives Police Service, said the source.
After having been forced to work for a long time without pay, many of the migrant workers at Bodufinolhu had revolted and had damaged some of the property at Bodufinolhu.
The 11 migrants who had been arrested at Bodufinolhu have remained in custody for 1 year, 7 months, and 24 days. On 27 February, the Criminal Court had sentenced them to jail-time of 1 month and 24 days. A migrant who had been found guilty of assaulting a police officer had been sentenced to 6 months and 6 days in prison.
As the migrants had been held in custody for a period longer than their sentences, they had been allowed to go free.
The source at the PGO said that the decision to deport the migrants had been influenced by Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail. The source accused Minister Fayyaz of influencing this decision in exchange for MP Ali Riza's help in Fayyaz's on-going campaign for the chairperson's post of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party.
The police and the PG have declined to respond to questions posed by The Maldives Journal.