The Maldives National Party (MNP) has sent a letter to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih asking him to address the Maldivian courts' 'tradition' of detaining people pending trial and ensure procedural justice for detainees.
The letter asked for an end to detaining people pending trial. The letter also asked the courts to expedite the cases of such detainees and facilitate the courts to conduct the procedure stipulated in Article 60(i) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The letter said that being detained pending trial is linked to a fundamental right of the people. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the President as the head of state and as the person responsible for promoting the rule of law and protecting the rights of the people, to eradicate the practice.
The letter also noted that about 343 prisoners are currently being held pending trial and that the law requires their detainment to be reviewed every 30 days. However, it is not done according to the law and therefore obstructs procedural justice, it said. The letter further said some of the detainees had not been tried for years and that being accused of a major crime is not legal grounds that can exclude people from procedural justice.
MNP said that when the Home Minister was questioned in Parliament on March 7 regarding the detaining arrestees pending trial, he did not say that any effort had been made to resolve the issue. The party noted that the Parliament and state institutions such as the Prosecutor General's Office have raised concerns and expressed the importance of protecting the rights of the people, and have made efforts to resolve the issue.