New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) A probe panel, which went into the events of February this year when then Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed was ousted from power, Thursday held that it was not a coup.
It also concluded that the transfer of power to then vice president Mohamed Waheed was “legal and constitutional” and that Nasheed’s resignation was voluntary without any coercion or intimidation.
“With regard to the idea that there was a coup, nothing in the Maldives changed in constitutional terms — indeed the constitution was precisely followed as prescribed,” the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) said in its 62-page report presented to President Waheed.
“Moreover, in terms of democratic intent and legitimacy of the authority of the presidency, as foreseen in the constitution, President Waheed properly succeeded Nasheed,” the CNI said in the report accessed by IANS.
The report is considered crucial to restoring normalcy in the troubled Indian Ocean archipelago nation due to the political turmoil following the February ouster of Nasheed.
India Wednesday urged all political parties in the Maldives to respect the findings and to desist from any actions that impact peace.
The CNI also held that police acted brutally Feb 6, 7 and 8, the final days of Nasheed in the office of president, and those acts needed to be further investigated.
The change of president Feb 7 was legal and constitutional and the events that occurred Feb 6 and 7, 2012, were, in a large measure, reactions to the actions of President Nasheed, it said.
“The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will; and it was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation.”
“There were acts of police brutality Feb 6, 7 and 8, 2012, that must be investigated and pursued further by the relevant authorities,” it added.
The CNI was mandated to “explore facts, circumstances and causes of events of Feb 7 that resulted in the transfer of power in the Maldives”.
Nasheed, who after his ouster visited various countries, such as the US and India, had claimed that he had faced a threat to his life and that the power transfer was a coup at gun point.
However, a report of the Maldivian Human Rights Commission (HRC) that probed the February events based on a parliamentary decree and submitted a report to the CNI in May this year, dismissed Nasheed’s claim.
The CNI, which carried out a six-month probe of its own, has only upheld the HRC’s findings in its final report and noted that there was no gun held at Nasheed’s head and that the resignation was of his own free will.
It had interviewed 293 witnesses over 224 hours by holding its sittings in Male and visiting all principal sites of the February events.
The CNI had commended its investigations Feb 25 but suspended its work after an agreement between the Maldives and the Commonwealth of Nations, and in June this year the CNI was expanded to include a representative of Nasheed and an independent judge from Singapore, apart from an adviser each from the Commonwealth and the UN.
The CNI, in its report, claimed it was guided by the principle, “no witness was to be shut up and no evidence was to be shut out”.
The Daily News Post India (tdnpost)