In an unprecedented act, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has pardoned and released Imran Wajudhi, brother of Addu Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef. Imran, previously sentenced to 25 years in prison for drug trafficking, was freed as a result of this decision.
Imran was sentenced in January 2021 for smuggling diamorphine, a highly potent narcotic substance, into the Maldives through the post. The police apprehended him and an accomplice during a controlled delivery operation on January 28, 2018. The state charged Imran under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, with the criminal court imposing a hefty fine of MVR 1 lakh and a life sentence.
The high court dismissed his appeal case after Imran requested to do so as he needed to do that to get a presidential pardon.
In addition to Imran, the President has also pardoned a youth from L. Hinnavaru, previously sentenced to life imprisonment for selling drugs.
These acts of clemency come amidst an alarming increase in drug abuse in the Maldives since President Ibrahim took office. Instances of drug users stealing from shops and displaying drunken behavior on the streets of Male' City have become commonplace, raising concerns among the populace.
This wave of drug-related issues brings to mind President Ibrahim's own past conviction and sentence related to the sale of alcohol during his youth. Critics argue that these pardons set a dangerous precedent, potentially encouraging the drug trade and abuse in the Maldives.
President Ibrahim's decisions have sparked debates on the appropriateness of presidential pardons in cases of severe crimes such as drug trafficking. The public and policymakers alike now wait with bated breath to see how this situation unfolds and how it will impact the fight against drug abuse in the nation.