Maldives Could Resume Executions within Hours after 60-year Moratorium

July 19, 2017

The Maldivian government could resume executions within hours after a moratorium that has lasted 60 years, Reprieve understands.

Reports suggest that President Abdullah Yameen is preparing to go through with his repeated threat of starting to carry out death sentences before the end of July. There are currently three men who have had their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court who could be executed immediately. Local media have quoted the Home Affair Minister, Azleen Ahmed saying the government have expedited efforts to implement the death penalty in recent days.

The de facto moratorium on the death penalty has been in place in the Maldives for more than 60 years. In June 2013 the Parliament rejected a new death penalty law but in one of his first acts after coming to power, President Yameen enacted a regulation reintroducing the death penalty, bypassing Parliament.

Forced confessions, politically-motivated charges, and other abuses are commonplace. Children and those suffering from mental illness have been sentenced to death, in violation of international law.

Commenting, Director of Reprieve, Maya Foa said:

“This is a worrying move from a President who is trying to distract from instability in the country and opposition to his leadership. Evidence shows that the death penalty does nothing to reduce violent crime – especially when it is imposed for political convenience and with no due process. This is a naked attempt by President Yameen to suppress dissent and tighten his grip on power. He should listen to the international community, keep the moratorium on executions and start the democratic reforms that are needed to bring stability back to the islands.”