Acts that harm foreign interests to be criminalized

The Attorney General's Office has sent a bill to the President's Office seeking to criminalize acts that are harmful to the country's foreign interests.

The AG's office Thursday said in a statement that the government had proposed a bill to make acts that harm the country's foreign interests a separate offense under the Penal Code's chapter on offenses related to security, safety, and disciplinary standards. The bill also includes amendments to the Act to clarify the acts that can be considered as offences.

Acts considered as a criminal offense under the amendment include:

- Damaging or altering the flag, national symbol, or emblem of another country
- Damage or calls for damage to an institution belonging to another country
- Harming or calling to harm an individual because of their nationality
- Calling for people to leave the Maldives because of their nationality

Former President Abdulla Yameen is leading an "India Out" campaign to withdraw Indian military personnel in the Maldives. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has deemed the movement a threat to national security through a Presidential Decree.

The Decree states that the campaign is against all international treaties. The President said the campaign would destabilize the Maldives and place a heavy burden on the country's economic security and social systems. He also noted that the Maldives' independence and sovereignty could be threatened, especially in the international arena.

The Decree also noted that if the campaign is not stopped, the people of the Maldives would be endangered and could suffer irreparable damage.

However, the opposition coalition has said the Decree was illegal. Despite the Decree, the opposition has said they would not stop their efforts.