In a startling revelation that has raised eyebrows across the nation, it has been disclosed that more than 600 convicts, including individuals charged with serious offenses such as homicide and drug trafficking, have been liberated or pardoned during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's first four years in office.
Data from the President's Office showed that since President Ibrahim assumed office, 683 convicts have benefited from shortened sentences or full pardons. The yearly breakdown is as follows: 94 in 2019, 130 in 2020, 310 in 2021, and 149 in 2022.
However, the President's Office has remained reticent on the specifics of the crimes committed by these individuals. Despite the lack of official confirmation, it is understood from publicly available records that some of the pardoned or sentence-commuted individuals had been convicted of grave offenses, such as child molestation, murder, and drug trafficking.
The President's Office, in an official response, declared that they do not keep records of the crimes committed by those who have received commuted or pardoned sentences. Contradictorily, a senior official from the same office insisted that every clemency recommendation and decision signed by the president specifies the convict's guilt and the reason for the sentence's commutation or pardon.
This transparency issue has sparked further controversy after the Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, publicly accused several officials in the President's Office of corruption, allegedly accepting bribes to commute or pardon sentences. Ali Zahir, chief of staff at the President's Office, was singled out as the main target of these allegations. Zahir has staunchly denied these claims.
The release of this data has triggered a national debate on the effectiveness and transparency of the presidential pardon system, with critics arguing for greater clarity and accountability in the process.