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US Senators ask govt to work to restore democracy in Maldives

Washington: Two top American Senators have asked the Obama Administration to work with India and other countries to restore democracy in Maldives and release of political prisoners including Former President Mohamed Nasheed.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry last week, the two Senators – John McCain and Jack Reed — expressed deep concern about the deteriorating situation in the Maldives and the implications of recent events for the democratic process, human rights and US national security policy in South Asia.

In their letter, McCain and Reed asked the US to press for the release of all political prisoners, including the former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Yesterday, McCain and Reed filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 that expresses the sense of the Congress that the Government of Maldives should immediately release Nasheed and all political prisoners in the country, and guarantee human rights for all the citizens of the Maldives.

“In short, while the Maldives may be a small island nation, there are big principles at stake. The United States should work with India and other democratic countries to impress upon the Maldives that its decisions are having serious adverse consequences on its relationships abroad,” two Senators wrote in their letter.

“The US must also urge the Maldives to release all political prisoners, including Nasheed,” it added.

Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, was arrested on February 22 on terror charges of ordering the arrest of a senior judge in 2012 that triggered violence in the Indian Ocean island.

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