Speaking in his weekly radio address, President Mohamed Nasheed has said he is hopeful the new penal code will exclude the penalties of death and amputation.

After debate, the People’s Majlis sent the revised draft penal code to an ad hoc committee for further review, on Wednesday.

On death penalty, the President said: “A fair, a very fair trial – in my view as fair as the justice delivered during the Prophetic era – must be ensured before taking human life.

“I don’t believe that the Maldives’ judicial system has the capacity to meet all requirements for such a fair trial. Ultimately, the burden of pardoning or the burden of implementing death penalty is upon the President.”

The President said, in his opinion, it was unwise to make death penalty a codified punishment in law.

“I’m hopeful the penal code would be passed without offences punishable by death,” said the President.

Speaking on amputation, the President said amputation as a penalty has never been the common practice in the Maldives.

He said the consequences of the only two instances of implementing amputation in the past were negative and bad.

“I don’t think the penal code should include amputation as a penalty,” said the President.

Underwater cabinet meeting

In his radio address, President Nasheed spoke on the underwater cabinet meeting to be held at Girifushi tomorrow.

He said the underwater cabinet meeting will be a significant achievement in drawing the world attention to the Maldives’ efforts to address climate change.

The President said: “It’s crucial that the voice of Maldives’ politicians – or the cabinet – be heard throughout the world. This is because of the threat posed to the Maldives from climate change”

He further said a dialogue between the Maldives and the rest of the world must be started. The underwater cabinet meeting, the President said, would facilitate such a dialogue by attracting the world attention on the Maldives.

“There is hardly any news media that have not talked about this event,” said the President.

Some of the major international media outlets are in the Maldives to cover the event. Television Maldives will broadcast the meeting live around 10 o’clock in the morning.

President Nasheed, including the cabinet, will hold a press conference after the dive.

Bill on former presidents

In the radio address, the President also spoke on the bill on the privileges and immunities of former presidents, which was passed on Tuesday.

Referring to the controversial “Article 9” which was ultimately removed, the President said it was unacceptable that any citizen had the immunity from being tried in a court of law.

The bill provides for pension and other allowances for former presidents.

President Nasheed also reiterated a theme he has raised on several occasion. He said former presidents should remain as former presidents should they wish the respect and admiration of the people.

“If former presidents become opposition political leaders, the respect and admiration they get will be on that capacity,” said the President.

In his radio address, the President highlighted on his trip to Laamu atoll, his scheduled visit to India on 21 October, on the World Food Day, which is being marked today, and on government’s decision to make a claim for an extended continental shelf for the Maldives.

The cabinet in a meeting on Tuesday decided to explore the possibility of having an extended continental shelf for the Maldives.

A transcript of the radio address, broadcast on the Voice of Maldives this morning, is available on the President’s Office website.