Abdulla Yameen’s nephew arrested amid challenge to rule

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Members of Yameen's family have turned against him and are seeking to weaken his rule [Reuters]

Politician Faris Maumoon held on bribery charges in run-up to vote to unseat ally of his uncle President Abdulla Yameen.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen’s nephew has been arrested amid renewed political unrest in the Indian Ocean nation after members of the president’s family turned against him, criticising authoritarian reversals under his rule.

Faris Maumoon was arrested on Tuesday in the capital Male on charges of bribery, according to court documents.

A politician who defected to the opposition, Faris has been leading an effort to unseat Yameen’s ally, speaker of parliament Abdulla Maseeh, who has been accused of ignoring allegations of corruption, mismanagement and rights abuses.

“The charges against Faris are clearly false,” said Eva Abdulla, an opposition politician.

“Coming just four days before the vote to impeach the speaker, it marks the beginning of a campaign to reduce opposition votes by arresting and jailing lawmakers.”

Yameen won a 2013 presidential election and has since been accused of reversing much of the country’s democratic gains and corruption.

Faris is the son of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was the Maldives president for 30 years.

The brothers, Gayoom and Yameen, fell apart after an acrimonious power struggle within the ruling party last year.

Gayoom called his son’s arrest “a grave injustice” in a Twitter post and said: “All dictatorships are doomed to fail. That is the lesson of history.”

Gayoom, who himself ruled with an iron fist, has joined forces with Mohamed Nasheed, whom he repeatedly jailed but who went on to become the country’s first democratically elected president, in a campaign to undermine Yameen in the run-up to elections next year.

For his part, Nasheed, in a Twitter post, said Yameen was “highlighting his desperation by going after his own nephew”.

A spokesman for Yameen declined to comment immediately. news from Aljazeera.

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