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Maldives foreign minister quits over death penalty

Malé, Maldives | July 6, 2016, Wednesday @ 08:14 in World » INDIAN OCEAN | Views: 4246
Maldives foreign minister quits over death penalty

File Photo: Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon addresses a press conference in Colombo on March 16, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/ Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI)

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(AFP) - The Maldives' foreign minister resigned Tuesday, citing "irreconcilable disagreements" with the president over a proposed implementation of the death penalty in the politically troubled nation.

Dunya Maumoon, a niece of President Abdulla Yameen, also raised doubts over the judicial system in the Indian Ocean archipelago, which is facing international censure over the jailing of dissidents and persecution of political opponents.

The foreign minister had been an ardent defender of the regime, but recent local media reports suggested a rift between her father, former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and his half brother Yameen.

"I decided to resign because of irreconcilable disagreements on the government's policy in implementing the death penalty," Maumoon, 43, told AFP.

The new policy came "at a time when serious questions are being asked, and concerns being expressed, about the delivery of justice in the Maldives," she added.

Capital punishment has not been carried out in the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims for over 60 years.

She becomes the second minister to quit the government in as many weeks and the 12th to resign from the cabinet since the hardline president came to power in November 2013.

Home minister Umar Naseer, who was effectively Yameen's deputy, quit late last month, hours before a cabinet reshuffle.

The Maldives has been rocked by political turmoil in recent years, with almost all of Yameen's key rivals jailed or exiled from the popular honeymoon destination.

The latest resignation comes over a month after Mohamed Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, was granted asylum in Britain.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison on controversial terrorism charges last year but was allowed to travel to Britain for surgery in January and granted political asylum in May.

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Tags: Maldives, foreign minister, death penalty, Dunya Maumoon, President Abdulla Yameen, judicial system, Indian Ocean

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