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  • » 01/23/2018, 17.19

    MALDIVES

    Exiled Maldivian former president accuses China of land grab



    Mohamed Nasheed lives in exile in London. Beijing leased at least 16 atolls to build ports and infrastructure for its New Silk Road. The opposition leader also warns that Muslim extremists are a threat to the country.

    Malé (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Maldives’ first democratically-elected president has accused China of a “land grab”.

    Mohamed Nasheed, 50, leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), was forced into exile in London by a coup.

    During a visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where many of his party’s activists are based, he attacked China’s strategy of leasing some of his country’s islands, which he deems a threat to its national sovereignty.

    He also warned against the growth of Islamic extremism, which could lead to a parallel state in the tropical tourist paradise located in the Indian Ocean.

    Nasheed noted that Chinese interests have leased at least 16 of the atoll nation’s 1,192 coral islands.

    The Maldives are part of Beijing’s New Silk Road, which includes the construction of ports and infrastructure on leased land.

    For the former president, "This is colonialism, and we must not allow it. We want other countries (in the region) to join us and speak the same language (against Chinese expansion). We are not against any country, not against direct foreign investment, but we are against relinquishing our sovereignty."

    In 2008 The MDP leader became the Maldives' first democratically-elected president but was ousted in a coup backed by religious extremists in February 2012. In 2015 he was jailed on terrorism charges which he says were politically motivated.

    In Colombo he announced that if he was re-elected in the Maldives next year, a predominantly Muslim country of 340,000, he would reopen the deals signed with China.

    With respect to Islamic extremism, Nasheed noted that at least 300 Maldivians joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and that many are coming home.

    He added that key branches of the government were being infiltrated by Salafists, an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam.

    "It's not an exaggeration to say that there is now a parallel state in the Maldives. A state within the state. A network of religious radicals have infiltrated strategic institutions, the government and the street gangs."

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    See also

    03/02/2018 09:55:00 MALDIVES
    Supreme court acquits former president. Police clash with supporters

    Mohamed Nasheed was acquitted of terrorism charges, along with eight other opponents. He will be able to return from exile and run for political elections scheduled for the end of the year. Under his reformist leadership, sharia has never been abolished and religious freedom does not exist.



    06/02/2018 09:27:00 MALDIVES
    Maldives, state of emergency: two Supreme Court judges arrested

    The highest judicial body had acquitted the former president Mohamed Nasheed of terrorism charges. The 80-year-old former head of state is under house arrest. Parliament sessions are suspended to avoid the impeachment of Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Some constitutional rights suspended.



    08/10/2008 MALDIVES
    Maldivians to elect president in their first multi-party elections in more than 30 years
    After more than 30 years under President Gayoom, voters will make history. After an intensively fought campaign across hundreds of islands the next president will have his hands full with the country’s many social and economic problems.

    19/02/2009 MALDIVES
    No place for religious freedom in the Maldives’ new democratic dispensation
    President Nasheed had pledged freedom of expression and promised to uphold human rights. Instead under the Maldives’s constitution all Maldivians must still be Sunni Muslims. In order to keep his coalition together he has had to give the Ministry of Religious Affairs to the leader of one of the most intransigent Islamic parties. But voices of dissent are finding their way into the blogosphere.

    29/10/2008 MALDIVES
    Mohamed Nasheed, a former political prisoner, is the Maldives’ new president
    The Gayoom era that began in 1978 ends in the first democratic elections. The president-elect pledges a “peaceful transition” and reforms. In the tourist paradise where there is no religious freedom, 70 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.



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