Maldives ex-leader claims Chinese land grabbing; govt denies

COLOMBO, (Reuters) – Exiled former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who is fighting for the right to contest a presidential poll this year, said yesterday that land grabbing by China was threatening peace and stability in the Indian Ocean.

However, the administration of President Abdulla Yameen said Nasheed, who has been in exile on medical grounds from a 13-year jail sentence, should name the islands grabbed by China if he knew of any land grabbing.

The island nation has been mired in political unrest since its first democratically elected leader Nasheed was ousted in 2012. He was later sentenced to 13 years in jail on terrorism charges after a trial denounced as hasty and unfair by the United Nations human rights chief.

“There is land grab going on that threatens not just the Maldives, but the peace and the stability of the entire region. A large, emerging power is busy buying up the Maldives,” Nasheed told reporters in Colombo. When asked to name the power to which he was referring, he said: “China”.

“None of these agreements are transparent. They did not go through the proper tendering process and therefore the actual figures we must learn. I’m very sure about the process of land grab,” he when asked about the extent of the land grab by China.

He said at least 16-17 small islands had been seized, though he did not name any of them or give an idea of the amount of territory grabbed by China.

“It always starts with a real estate project, but it can be turned into something (else) … that China has actually grabbed more land.”

Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Maldives ambassador to Sri Lanka responding to Nasheed’s allegation, said the archipelago’s constitution prevents anybody owning land in the Indian Ocean island nation without large investments behind them.

“Investors can own land only by investing over $1 billion according to a law enacted two years back. Nobody has invested that amount so far. In terms of leasing, Chinese companies would have leased a handful of resorts, less than those leased by Thailand,” he told Reuters.

“If Nasheed says 16-17 islands, he should name at least one island which is grabbed by China.”

Nasheed is not eligible to contest the 2018 presidential poll as he was arrested under an anti-terrorism law. He would require a presidential pardon to do so, but he needs to serve one-third of his 13-year sentence, legal experts say.

Nasheed once held an underwater cabinet meeting during his 2008-12 tenure to bring global attention to focus on the impact of climate change on the Maldives.

He has sought U.N. help to restore his political rights, which he says were removed illegally on trumped up terrorism charges.

He expects to contest the 2018 presidential elections once his political rights restored.

Comments  

Corporate partners cut cord with NRA as gun control debate rages

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – The fallout over this week’s shooting rampage at a Florida high school started to take its toll on National Rifle Association’s roster of corporate partners yesterday as a half dozen companies severed marketing ties with the gun advocacy organzation.

Canada’s Trudeau spurs criticism, raises eyebrows on India trip

OTTAWA/NEW DELHI,  (Reuters) – Canadian and Indian officials scrambled yesterday to explain how a convicted Sikh extremist was invited to a New Delhi reception for Justin Trudeau, the latest misstep in the Canadian prime minister’s bumpy eight-day trip to India.

Eight Gupta firms seek insolvency protection in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG,  (Reuters) – At least eight companies owned by the wealthy Gupta family accused of corrupt ties to former president Jacob Zuma, have filed for protection from creditors, documents showed yesterday.

All that jazz: Saudis attend country’s first jazz festival

RIYADH,  (Reuters) – Men and women swayed to music at Saudi Arabia’s first-ever jazz festival yesterday, the second of a three-day outdoor event that showcases the Kingdom’s recent efforts of shedding its conservative image.

U.S. imposes more North Korea sanctions, Trump warns of ‘phase two’

WASHINGTON/SEOUL,  (Reuters) – The United States said yesterday it was imposing its largest package of sanctions to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear missile program, and President Donald Trump warned of a “phase two” that could be “very, very unfortunate for the world” if the steps did not work.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×