Maldives govt ready to welcome self-exiled politicians
Several politicians including former president Mohamed Nasheed and former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed are living in self-exile. In photo: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen. (Image source: President's office) Photograph: (Others)
The president of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen said on Monday the government is ready to welcome self-exiled politicians abroad if they want to return home.
However, he highlighted the jail sentences to be served by some of the self-exiled politicians.
"The people exiled abroad can return to Maldives. But if they have a sentence to serve, once they come back to Maldives it's up to them to decide whether they would go home or somewhere else. But there is nothing stopping them from coming back to the Maldives. We would even welcome that," President Yameen said speaking at a ceremony held in Himmafushi island.
He said his administration would not target politicians and arrest them out of the boundaries of the law.
Several politicians including former president Mohamed Nasheed and former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed are living in self-exile in the UK.
Yameen said Maldives still enjoys all the rights in the constitutional democracy including freedom of speech, freedom assembly and freedom of press.
However, in the past few years Maldives have witnessed a significant crackdown on the media. New rules and regulation restrict freedom of assembly as well as freedom of expression and speech.
One such law is the Anti-defamation and freedom of expression Act which limits freedom of speech and expression with hefty fines.