In a deeply flawed trial, the former president Anni was found of guilty of terrorism and sentenced 13 years behind bars. This is a deeply shocking news to many as the twists and turns of this saga were closely followed by friends and foes alike, although nobody believed he would anyhow get a free or fair trial. President Nasheed (popularly known as Anni) had many friends and foes, but even most of his foes agree that this time he has received more than he deserves.
Some facts about the trial:
- Anni’s defense witnesses were prevented from giving witness; the court essentially said the prosecution witnesses were too strong to be negated by defense witness.
- One of the three sitting judges was a prosecution witness in the first lesser charge. The state prosecutor was also a witness to the case.
- The prosecution changed the charge sheet almost overnight without giving Anni’s lawyers time to make defense. The original charge was a lesser charge of wrongfully imprisoning a person, the later was terrorism.
- Anni’s lawyers had to quit because the court essentially made it impossible for them to work by giving them strange and unworkable deadlines to defend the former president.
Despite these setbacks this will be a blow to the sitting government for allowing this farce of a court case to have gone to completion. In the middle of the court case there were frequent allegations and sightings of govt. officials such as the all powerful tourism minister meeting with sitting Judges and even supreme court judges. The allegations were that current government wanted the courts to windup the case as quickly as possible so as not to allow more media scrutiny into the case. It is also interesting to note that this court case was quickly revived up after being left gathering dust for 3 years just a few weeks after government owned apartments were given to court judges.
Politically this is a big mistake by PPM who have majority of parliament, government and judiciary all in their hands to be seen as crushing any form of dissent. The government cannot hide under the slogan that they are unable to interfere with judicial proceedings. This is a well-known tactic everywhere used by all sorts of dictators to crush dissent. They used just one mantra and it won’t buy them any legitimacy. It is unlikely that the govt. can stand the negative pressure from media and global community.
Fighting with terrorists in paradise must be a complicated thing because as a general rule, terrorists and paradise shall not mix: terrorists are destined not for paradise but for hell.
Coming across a piece of bad journalism on these same lines, we felt the need to comment on the story as the essay tries to give the impression that our beautiful islands are in danger of being occupied by terrorists- which needless to say is solid fantasy.
First of all, the essay printed in the-diplomat.com doesn’t seem to have been prompted by any new development in the tourism sector in the Maldives or anywhere else in the country. The essay simply revises some old news from 2007 to match the words to the heading of the story. The heading of the story contains the desired wordings to attract the most amount of traffic from search engines which is the goal of all news outlets. But just coming out of the blue and saying Maldives is fighting terror in paradise for no other reason than making a sensational story, is the culminating point of bad journalism! Nobody can beat this!
However the circumstances of our time is such that fantasy and drama sells and truth can always take a backstage. 😦
Although Tomato ( sorry Matato) claims otherwise, there will be absolutely be NO damage to the reputation of Maldives by agreeing to resettle Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Here are the reasons.
- Most resorts in Maldives are geared for high spenders rather than budget spenders who have their own businesses, professions and generally their heads with them. So they could not possibly be unaware of world politics or ramifications of it.
- Guantanamo Bay is not a terrorist camp or a training ground for terrorists. Rather its a place that came to be associated with the wrongful policies of the last US president whose successor is making good on his election promises to close down the place to show the ethical and humane side of American values. World media knows this and any measure to close down the camp will be cheered in any part of the globe.
- Our Obama (sorry, our president Mr. Anni) may not have always aligned his political steering to the correct compass direction but this time the president is correct. Absolutely correct to ZERO decimals without error. Assisting fellow human beings who happened to be caught in a global battle without an end in sight, is the responsibility of all respectable people of the world.
- Its the opposition politics which is taking advantage of the ignorance of the masses to gather support for their parties which is creating all this fuss about the move to resettle the POWs which has no basis whatsoever. Our president Anni showed considerable courage (far more than is generally necessary) in cutting short the reporters who are questioning this move because the media can make or break a country. In this case, the opposition is using media to the hilt to discredit a rather commendable move by the president.
- Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) which is different from tomato (of course!) are not experts of world politics, terrorism, tourism or anything. These are just individuals (locals) who make a life selling package holidays to unwary tourists who might not have come across big names of world famous tour operators who operate in Maldives. Top brands in tour operations in the world knows the value of their statements to media so they generally refrain from commenting on issues without prior knowledge. Moreover these Tomatoes (sorry MATATOs) are the most worker unfriendly people who works in the tourism industry. Generally they make a living by their fancy websites (to unwary guests of course ) while we the workers resort workers tarry with the guests.
- The Tomatos (sorry MATATO) said that certain countries issued travel warnings to Maldives citing “internal conflicts and linking terrorism to Maldives.” these are just claims which has absolutely no basis. Even the specific wording they used has nothing to link this to the recent decision by the government to resettle Guantanamo Bay prisoners. What it has if anything was the fact that the former government of Maumoon committed the big mistake of smearing the name of the country by claiming to the world media about the presence of terrorism and terrorist camps in the country. These were of course lies to win in the presidential election by playing the “fear” card which thankfully backfired.
Below is the link to country specific information about Maldives which is certainly not issuing cautions against visiting the country.
US Department of State
Here is the world alert page by State Department which also does not contain advice to boycott our country’s tourism.
Below is the link of MATATO board members
The couch potatoes.. sorry MATATO