MDP PG decides on passing controversial law criminalizing

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Ruling party MDP’s Parliamentary Group has decided to introduce and pass a law which would criminalize and jail those who call for the removal of Indian military forces in the Maldives through the “India Out” campaign.

Speaking to MNN, a member of the ruling party’s PG group who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the decision was made earlier today and that they passed a decision to introduce the bill in its current status to the parliament.

While the bill will be introduced in its current status, any further amendments would be brought at the committee stage. According to the parliamentarian, the ruling party’s Parliamentary Group is working toward introducing the bill in the upcoming week.

Under the bill, any action which would have a negative effect of bilateral relations with another country would be criminalized.  Under this, any form of protest, campaign or political activity under the name of the people of Maldives or any political party, against any international relation or agreement accepted by both countries would be criminalized.

Additionally, stating that the Maldives is under the political, military and or economical influence of a foreign nation would also be criminalized.

The bill which is targeted at the “India Out” movement will see a fine of MVR 20,000.00 ($1297) along with house arrest of up to 1 year or a jail sentence of up to 6 months against the protestors. The opposition coalition has labelled this bill as an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression and that the government does not have any legal grounds to stop the “India Out” campaign.

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