Maldives sacks vice-president for ‘treason’

COLOMBO (TIP): The Maldives parliament said on July 23 it has sacked the country’s vice-president and accused him of treason, as international concern mounts over the state of democracy on the honeymoon islands.

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday evening to oust Mohamed Jameel, who was the running mate of President Abdulla Yameen in a controversial 2013 election but has now fallen out with him. The 45-year-old, who was abroad at the time of the vote, was also accused of colluding with the opposition, although the precise nature of the charge remains unclear. Yameen, the half-brother of former Maldivian strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled for three decades until 2008, already faces international criticism for jailing opposition leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed for 13 years on charges of terrorism in March.

In June Nasheed was moved to house arrest to undergo medical treatment. The United Nations said the trial of Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, was “vastly unfair”, while US secretary of state John Kerry warned that democracy was under threat.

Yameen and Jameel have been at loggerheads in recent months although both had worked together to defeat Nasheed. Jameel accused the president of sidelining him about four months after his November 2013 election.

The sacked vice-president, who was not allowed legal representation, said Yameen was undermining the rule of law.

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