Senator James McGrath has urged the Australian Government to consider government and commercial sanctions against The Maldives to help restore democracy.
The island nation’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Nasheed was last weekend found guilty of terrorism and hastily sentenced to 13 years jail.
In a letter to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Senator McGrath called for the introduction of targeted sanctions against current president Abdulla Yameen, his Cabinet members and supporters – including various international tourist resorts that help fund the regime.
“Words alone cannot countenance the injustice of the trial not to mention the shocking deterioration of democratic institutions in The Maldives,” Senator McGrath wrote to Ms Bishop.
“Mohamed Nasheed is regarded as the Mandela of the Indian Ocean for his peaceful approach to democracy and reconciliation.
“Sadly, it appears the current Maldivian Government are copying the tactics of the despotic Robert Mugabe.
“If Australia does not act to demonstrate its support for democracy in one of our neighbours not to mention a fellow member of the Commonwealth of Nations, then I fear for democratic stability in our region.”
Senator McGrath had worked as campaign director for President Nasheed’s successful 2008 election campaign. The 2008 election saw the overthrow of Asia’s longest serving dictator, Maumoon Gayoom, the half-brother of the current President.