MALE', MALDIVES - Former Maldivian President and current Speaker of the People's Majlis, Mohamed Nasheed, reached out to the European Union (EU) delegation, requesting assistance in transferring opposition leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from prison to his residence.
Nasheed's appeal to the EU came during a meeting with its delegation, which includes the chief observer and European Parliament member, Nacho Sanchez Amo. The delegation is in the Maldives to observe the upcoming presidential elections and made its way to the Parliament house earlier today.
A statement released by the parliament post-meeting conveyed Nasheed's aspirations. He believes that relocating Gayoom to his home will be instrumental in ensuring that the presidential election unfolds in a manner that is both fair and free.
It is to be noted that Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, a former president himself, is currently undergoing an 11-year sentence on charges of money laundering and bribery. The nature of his incarceration has been the subject of significant controversy, with many viewing it as a politically motivated move.
At present, Gayoom is engaged in the appeal process for his case, and has urged the judiciary to permit him to serve the remainder of his sentence from the comfort of his home. The courts, however, have yet to make a definitive ruling on this request.
Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, despite his ongoing jail sentence, was chosen as the official nominee for the upcoming presidential elections by the opposition party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). However, his aspirations were dealt a blow when the Elections Commission declined his candidacy due to his jail term. This setback was further solidified as the Supreme Court sustained the decision made by the Election Commission.
With President Yameen's candidacy dismissed, former Housing Minister and the incumbent Mayor of Male', Dr. Muizzu, has stepped into the political arena as the opposition's chosen candidate. Dr. Muizzu has not shied away from expressing his intentions, with one of his foremost pledges being the liberation of President Yameen should he be elected.
The developments come at a crucial time for the Maldives as the nation gears up for what is expected to be a closely watched presidential election. With international observers, including the EU, now involved, all eyes will be on the Maldives and its commitment to upholding democratic values.