Maldives ruling party concerned over bail for jailed leaders

Several ruling party lawmakers late Monday expressed grave concern after the High Court freed three top opposition figures including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on bail.

In addition to the 80 year old Gayoom, the High Court had granted bail for his lawmaker son Faris Maumoon and self-exiled Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim on Monday.

The High Court's decision came in the wake of the opposition alliance victory in last Sunday's presidential elections.

Chief government lawmaker Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik told local reporters on Monday that the new government had "influenced" the courts into releasing "rich and powerful politicians" while people from "ordinary families" were still left to languish in jail.

The Villi-Maafannu lawmaker urged the "just and fair" opposition government to secure the release of "ordinary people."

As many as nine politicians including Gayoom was brought to the capital from the main prison in Maafushi island to be produced in court last Monday.

However, the court freed South Machchangoalhi MP Abdulla Sinan, Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham Ahmed Gayoom's son-in-law Ahmed Nadeem and former police chief Ahmed Areef who had been in remand until the end of their trials. The four had been charged with terrorism for conspiring to overthrow the government following the landmark Supreme Court ruling in February.

The court refused to rule on the custodial detention of Gayoom, his lawmaker son, Faris Maumoon, former chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed pointing out that they had all been jailed on criminal convictions.

The Criminal Court has already released Jumhoory Party deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz earlier Monday before releasing opposition lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof a day after.

Elections Commission on Sunday announced the official results which confirmed opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the seventh president of the archipelago with a staggering 58.4 percent of the votes.

Solih had been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party leader and business tycoon Gasim.