As Yameen’s grip loosens, Maldives court frees leaders arrested during emergency

Shubham Ghosh

Male, Sept 25: With the iron grip of Abdulla Yameen loosening, the political milieu in the island-nation of Maldives started regaining breath. On Monday (September 24) night, the country's criminal court released five prisoners who were arrested during the state of emergency which was imposed by the Yameen regime, Maldives Independent reported.

Earlier in the say, 59-year-old Yameen conceded defeat in the latest presidential election which was won by Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The Election Commission said Solih, a senior leader from Maldivian Democratic Party, received 38,484 votes more than the departing president. It also said that the election saw no irregularities that could impact the overall outcome.

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Among the five released prisoners are MPs Abdulla Sinan and Ilham Ahmed; former police chief Ahmed Areef; former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's son-in-law Mohamed Nadheem and former police chief and deputy leader of opposition Abdulla Riyaz. All of them were arrested during February's state of emergency and were under trial, the Maldives Independent report added.

However, Gayoom, his son Faris Maumoon, former chief justice Abdulla Saeed and a few others were not released. Though the court negated previous orders to hold them in custody for terrorism trial but they were convicted on various other charges and were serving prison terms.

Also Read | Maldives elections: Pro China Yameen ousted

Court hearings on appeals on their convictions are expected on Tuesday, September 25.

Modi invites Solih to India

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the new president-elect on Monday to congratulate him on his win and also invited him to New Delhi to hold a meeting as early as possible, Solih told Raajje TV. Modi expressed wish to repair the two countries' strained relationship.

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