Maldives Foreign Minister Quits in Opposition to Death Penalty

Maldivian Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon speaks during a news conference in Colombo October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/Files

Maldivian foreign minister Dunya Maumoon speaks during a news conference in Colombo, October 29, 2015. Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Male: The foreign minister of the Maldives, Dunya Maumoon, quit on Tuesday, July 5, as she opposed the government’s use of capital punishment, which the government adopted in May.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions I had to take,” Maumoon said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“Yet, the decision became inevitable because of the profound differences of opinion on the government’s policy in implementing the death penalty at a time when serious questions are being asked, and concerns being expressed, about the delivery of justice in the Maldives.”

Ibrahim Hussain Shihab, a spokesman in President Abdulla Yameen’s office, confirmed Maumoon’s resignation without elaborating on the reason.

Local media, however, linked the resignation to the ongoing conflicts between her father, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the presdient, who is his half-brother. Gayoom previously ruled the Maldives for 30 years and is now the leader of the ruling Progressive Party.

The Maldives adopted democracy in 2008 but the path from there on has been very rough for the country. Last month, a 22-year-old man was convicted and given the death penalty by the Supreme Court in a 2012 assassination case. UN human rights experts have urged the government to halt the execution and uphold the unofficial moratorium on capital punishment.

Maumoon previously served as deputy minister for foreign affairs in Mohamed Waheed’s government in 2012 and her father’s government in 2008. She was appointed foreign minister in 2013 when Yameen assumed power.

(With Reuters inputs)