Monday 15th Apr 2024
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Drug Trafficking

Maldives President's Office Defends Controversial Decision to Commute Drug Trafficker's Sentence

The Maldives government's decision to release a convicted drug trafficker from prison has come under fire, with critics accusing the government of corruption and abuse of power. The President's spokesperson has defended the decision, stating that the release was made in accordance with the law.
Mohammed Rishwan, who was convicted of cannabis trafficking and sentenced to 25 years in prison in November 2022, was released from prison in February after just a few months. His release was ordered by President Solih, who commuted his sentence to just five days.
While the government has defended the decision, many see it as an abuse of power. Rishwan's family, which is known to be a major political force on their island, is alleged to have supported President Solih's party in the primary elections held in January, leading some to speculate that Rishwan's release was a political favor.
This is not the first time that the Maldivian government has faced accusations of corruption and abuse of power in relation to prisoner releases. The practice of commuting the sentences of serious offenders with political connections, despite laws prohibiting the direct pardon of individuals involved in drug trafficking, terrorism, and sexual offenses, has been a longstanding issue in the country.
The case has raised questions about the government's commitment to combating drug trafficking and organized crime in the Maldives, and has led to calls for greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.
Mohammed Rishwan, a resident of Lh.Hinnavaru in the central Maldives, was arrested in May 2019 for possession of cannabis and charged with drug trafficking in July of that year. He was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison and fined up to 100,000 Maldivian Rufiyaa by the Criminal Court of the Maldives in November 2022.

Rishwan's release from prison has reignited concerns about corruption and political favoritism in the Maldives. The practice of commuting the sentences of serious offenders with political connections, despite laws prohibiting the direct pardon of individuals involved in drug trafficking, terrorism, and sexual offenses, has long been a contentious issue in the country.

The case highlights the need for greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system, and for the government to demonstrate its commitment to combating drug trafficking and organized crime in the Maldives.