Maldives’ Ex-President Gayoom’s health worsens in prison

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Male, Aug 22 (IANS) The health of former President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, lodged in a high-security prison since the beginning of the year, has deteriorated and he needs to be urgently transferred to a hospital, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Gayoom, who ruled the island nation with an iron hand between 1978 and 2008, is suffering from a condition known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which causes dizziness.

His lawyer Hussain Shameem told Efe news that the authorities refused to listen to Gayoom’s doctors and were not allowing him to be taken to a hospital.

“We have not been provided with any updates today. We found out yesterday that he was in a serious condition. We have submitted the matter to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives now,” Shameem said.

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Gayoom’s close aide Abdul Aleem said that the former President’s condition was not stable and they have been concerned ever since a lawyer’s visit was cancelled abruptly on Tuesday.

“We haven’t had any updates from prison authorities since yesterday morning so we do not know his condition now. All we’ve been told is that he is still not in stable condition and is strictly forbidden from moving,” Aleem said.

Prison authorities refused to comment on Gayoom’s condition. In July, he was sentenced to one year and seven months in prison for refusing to hand over his mobile phone for a police investigation in connection with a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the release of political prisoners.

Gayoom was also charged for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government of his half-brother President Abdulla Yameen. He faces a jail term of up to 20 years if convicted.

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–IANS

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