Fall of Maldives president not a 'coup': panel

A Commonwealth-backed investigation in the Maldives on Thursday dismissed claims that a coup forced Mohamed Nasheed from the presidency in February and declared it was a legitimate transfer of power.

The panel's report concluded that Nasheed, who alleged he was ousted in a coup, had resigned voluntarily -- a judgment promptly rejected by his party which staged another street protest and clashed with police.

The Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI), consisting of four nationals named by political parties and a Singaporean judge nominated by the Commonwealth, found the change of president was "legal and constitutional".

"The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will," it said in a 62-page report which was also signed by a Canadian and New Zealander who functioned as observers for the UN and the Commonwealth.

Nasheed's departure "was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation", the report said.

Nasheed has previously told his supporters that it would be legitimate to challenge the current government through "street action" if the report rejected his claims that he was overthrown in a military and police coup.

Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists took to the streets Thursday night in a repeat of protests that have gripped the capital Male for the past six months.

Police Superintendent Abdulla Nawaz said they arrested at least 23 activists. "They have assaulted one of our officers and damaged the windows of a police vehicle," Nawaz said when contacted by telephone.

MDP activists said about 50 of their supporters had been arrested within a two-hour period and accused police of clamping down on their nightly street demonstration.

"We will keep up our campaign to press for early elections," MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told AFP by telephone. He rejected the CoNI report as a "total outrage".

However, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the United States welcomed the report.

"We urge all parties to respect those findings, to exercise restraint, obey the rule of law, and continue to express themselves in a peaceful and non-violent manner," the US state department said in a statement.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also urged all parties to accept the findings of the report, while raising concerns at the prospect of renewed political tensions should that not happen.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that "the task ahead for all Maldivians must be to strengthen democracy".

"An atmosphere of peace and public order is essential for that to happen," he said.

Nasheed's nominee on the CoNI panel resigned late on Wednesday saying that it had ignored vital evidence, including photographs and videos.

The Maldives -- a string of islands set in the Indian Ocean -- relies on luxury resorts that attract wealthy tourists from around the world to its palm-fringed beaches, pristine seas and renowned diving.

This year's upheavals have not directly affected the resorts but have damaged the nation's image as a tropical paradise.

The CoNI report also noted acts of "police brutality" over the three days in February when Nasheed left office, and it called for further inquiries.

President Mohamed Waheed, who took over from Nasheed and was formerly his deputy, had earlier announced he would back its verdict.

One of his ministers, Mohamed Hussain Shareef, said Thursday that the government respected the panel's work and added that police would ensure that no civil unrest erupted at any demonstration by opposition activists.

Shareef said several unnamed countries had cut off aid to the Maldives and shunned high-level contacts over Nasheed's coup claims.

"The CoNI process is the catalyst for further engagement with the international community," Shareef, who is visiting Sri Lanka, told reporters.

President Waheed has rejected international calls for early elections, saying it was not practical to hold a vote before July 2013 in the Islamic state of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • A weekend of premium cars
    A weekend of premium cars

    Good news to all luxury car fanatics as PGA Cars, the exclusive importer and distributor of Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley cars in the country, will be holding the PGA Cars Premium Festival from May 29 to May 31 at the PGA Center in Global City in Taguig. The 3-day event will showcase PGA’s latest […] The post A weekend of premium cars appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda
    APEC ministers to endorse Boracay Action Agenda

    Trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Boracay, Aklan agreed yesterday to endorse the proposed Boracay Action Agenda to the member countries’ leaders, presenting opportunities for global trade for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In a press conference following the conclusion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who also served as chairman, said ministers agreed to recommend the adoption of the …

  • Talks with China over sea row urged
    Talks with China over sea row urged

    The Philippines should engage China in bilateral talks in its efforts to maintain peace and order at the disputed West Philippine Sea, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday. Escudero supports the government’s move to bring the issue before international arbitration but also stressed the need for the Philippines to pursue talks with China. Escudero made the statement after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. …

  • House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills
    House panel tackles bill on regular disaster drills

    The House committee on national defense is deliberating on a measure mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide. Authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., the bill mandates that risk reduction drills be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units. “The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator …

  • PCSO running out of funds
    PCSO running out of funds

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Ireneo Maliksi has admitted that the revenue-generating agency is running out of funds as it continues with its mandate to provide financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. Aside from providing financial help to individual recipients, Maliksi cited at least 13 laws that mandates the PCSO to provide mandatory contribution to different government agencies. Just last week, PCSO released P100 million to the Commission on Higher Education as …

  • Cops receive mid-year bonus
    Cops receive mid-year bonus

    Active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP)have received their mid-year bonuses. However, the bonus of personnel with pending administrative and criminal cases has been deferred as per administrative policy, according to PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias. The PNP has released P1.9 billion for the mid-year bonus of the 155,000 active duty uniformed and non-uniformed personnel. …

  • Catholics organize to promote pope's climate change message

    NEW YORK (AP) — There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines. …

  • Forgotten for decades, fallen NY soldier finally honored
    Forgotten for decades, fallen NY soldier finally honored

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Carroll Heath didn't have it easy growing up in the Great Depression. His father wasn't around, his mother was a patient in a mental hospital and he kept largely to himself. Soon after graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army and wound up in the Philippines, where he's believed to have died sometime in 1942. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options