The Government of Maldives has proposed changes to the Penal Code, effectively criminalizing calls to remove Indian military personnel stationed in the country.
A statement by the Attorney General’s Office stated that any action that denigrates relations between Maldives and other nations is a punishable offense.
The statement also added that AG office was preparing to submit an amendment bill to the Parliament, stating as such. The purpose of the bill, it said, was to codify actions, statements, and expressions that denigrate relationships with other nations as a criminal offense. This aspect would be codified under the clause that protects public safety, cohesion, and ethical behavior.
- The bill focuses on criminalizing four aspects;
- - Destroy or change flags, symbols of another nation
- - Destroy or calls to destroy any institution of another nation
- - Attack or calls to attack an individual solely because of nationality
- - Calls to individuals to leave the Maldives, solely because of the individual’s nationality
If the law passes, then calls to remove Indian military personnel in the country would be criminalized. Criticizing any nation, even criticism of Israel, a nation that prides on systematic subjugation of Muslims, would be criminalized.
If passed, this would a milestone in Maldivians losing a very basic right. We would be effectively taking a backward leap in all freedoms.