JP leader calls for the immediate release of ex-pres

Leader of Jumhooree Party and Speaker of the parliament Gasim Ibrahim has called for the immediate release of jailed former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.

Gasim called for his release while speaking at a campaign rally of Henveiru South candidate Alhan Fahmy. Members of opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Peoples' National Congress (PNC) were present at the rally.

During his address, Gasim Ibrahim said the incumbent government assumed office while speaking against the jailing of political leaders and presidents. However, their actions today contradicts their words, said Gasim. He further added that a person who was once president cannot be arrested based on an intelligence report, and called upon the government to release the former president.

"I call for the immediate release of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, he should not be held in jail [before his crime is proven]. They [the government] promised not to be unjust, but they have now jailed President Abdulla Yameen. This cannot be done, and they will have to release him. Justice and fairness should be for everyone", said Gasim passionately.

President Yameen is being held under state custody until the end of his money-laundering trial. The Prosecutor General requested the Criminal Court to take Yameen into custody to deny him the chance to influence the evidence against him. The arrest has since been appealed at the High Court by President Yameen.

Gasim noted that he had spoken up against the arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed under the terrorism law. Although Yameen's actions may not right, he should only be jailed after a fair trial, and should not be jailed before that, said Gasim.

"Our brother and sisters should not be jailed this way after [being elected] preaching about independence", added Gasim.

Gasim said there is fear that the police would arrive and arrest him then and there for his words, however, he will say what needs to be said without hesitation.

It was recently announced that Jumhooree Party, who is part of the ruling coalition is teaming up with opposing progressive coalition for the upcoming parliamentary elections. On Friday night, Gasim confirmed the alliance, and thanked the coalition for backing JP candidates, assuring that JP would back the progressive candidates in return.