President Abdulla Yameen has decided to take legal action against main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) over statements made regarding his alleged connection to an international oil scam, as well as RaajjeTV for airing a press conference held by the party.
The party held a press conference on Monday linking him to a local company involved in illegal oil trade, after filing the case at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
At a press conference held on Wednesday night, Yameen's legal team described this is an attempt to 'slander' him and said they intend to take legal action against all involved.
Aminath Nasreena from the President's legal team said that 'this is a direct attack on his candidacy rights' ahead of this month's presidential election.
Noting that Article 24 of the Constitution guarantees him certain rights, Nasreena said that the president has decided to take the party to the Civil Court seeking compensation.
- Article 24 states that 'everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his private communications. Every person must respect these rights with respect to others'.
His legal team is to file defamation cases against the party at 'relevant' institutions as well.
In addition, President Yameen is to pursue civil action against RaajjeTV, a private broadcaster, as well as to file a complaint against the station at the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC). The Commission has already fined the station four times, a total of MVR 3.7 million, which RaajjeTV describes as 'attacks on press freedom'.
MDP filed the case against the president at ACC this Monday, saying that it has obtained credible information connecting Yameen to the vessel accused of being involved in illegal oil trade with North Korea which is registered in Maldives.
At the press conference held later that day, chairperson Hassan Latheef revealed that the vessel 'Xin Yuan 18'- which was hoisting the Maldivian national flag when caught by Japanese authorities back in February- is leased to Hong Kong's Long Line International Ship Management, adding that their boat 'Prophecy' had been caught using the Maldivian flag a month prior.
Furthermore, noting that the vessel had used the maritime sign assigned to 'Trans Fuel 11', Latheef said that this boat belongs to a Green Box Private Limited, where former military officer Mohamed Ziyad is the managing director. He added that President Yameen had facilitated a loan for this company, via Bank of Maldives.