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U.N. rights chief blasts Maldivian courts

Oct. 30, 2013 at 12:42 PM   |   Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The level of Maldivian high court interference in the political process is alarming, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday.

The Supreme Court in Maldives ruled this month to negate the results of a September election, the outcome of which tilted in favor of the opposition. A rescheduled contest was stopped by Maldivian police because of issues related to voter lists.

Pillay said the Supreme Court imposed "onerous" guidelines for the election, which she said resulted in the Oct. 19 police raids on election offices.

"I am alarmed that the Supreme Court of the Maldives is interfering excessively in the presidential elections, and in so doing is subverting the democratic process and violating the right of Maldivians to freely elect their representatives," she said in a statement from Geneva.

Her office said there were "long-standing concerns" about the influence of justices in the Indian Ocean island nation of 26 atolls. The court, she said, was "stifling criticism and public debate" over the country's leaders.

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in an apparent coup in February 2012. The interim administration's tenure ends next month.

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