Solih sworn in as Maldives president, replacing pro-China leader

Maldives Chief Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi administers the oath of office to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2018
0

Solih sworn in as Maldives president, replacing pro-China leader

  • Solih was sworn in with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi among those in attendance
  • The US and the EU had threatened sanctions if the vote had not been free and fair

COLOMBO: Ibrahim Mohammed Solih was inaugurated Saturday as the new president of the Maldives after the opposition united to dislodge pro-China strongman leader Abdulla Yameen in September elections.

Solih, 54, emerged as common opposition candidate as all key dissidents were either jailed or forced into exile by Yameen who took power following a controversial run-off in 2013.

At a special session of Parliament held at the National Football Stadium in the capital Male, Solih was sworn in with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi among those in attendance.

The Maldives Foreign Ministry said China’s Culture Minister Luo Shugang was also an invitee.

Modi’s presence was a reflection of the relief felt in India, which has long held sway in the archipelago, and in the West that Yameen was voted out.

The US and the EU had threatened sanctions if the vote had not been free and fair.

Both India and Western nations watched with concern as Yameen moved closer to Beijing which loaned the strategically placed archipelago millions of dollars for infrastructure.

“I am confident that my visit will herald a new era of even closer exchanges and cooperation between our two countries,” Modi said on Facebook, especially in “infrastructure, health care, connectivity and human resource development.”

Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has pledged to end what it called “China’s colonialism” and to resist a “land grab” in the country which straddles key East-West shipping routes.

MDP leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed has vowed his party would reduce reliance on China and renegotiate millions of dollars in loans taken from Beijing.

More than 80 percent of the Maldives foreign debt is owed to China, he said.

China has also loaned other countries around the Indian Ocean and beyond large amounts of money for infrastructure projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, alarming the West.

During a recent visit to Colombo in the middle of his election campaign, Solih said that he wanted to repair ties with Sri Lanka and India.

Yameen awarded major infrastructure projects to China while taking away a major airport development from India. 

He also relied on Beijing for diplomatic support as the Maldives faced international isolation over his dismal rights record.

Modi had canceled his first visit to the country in 2015 after Yameen detained Nasheed and eventually had him convicted on a terrorism charge and jailed for 13 years.


Egyptian who killed daughter in Germany sentenced to life

Updated 21 February 2019
0

Egyptian who killed daughter in Germany sentenced to life

  • The defendant, identified as Ahmed F. in line with German privacy rules, was found guilty of strangling his seven-year-old daughter in July 2018 because he wanted to take revenge against his wife
  • He suspected his wife of infidelity

BERLIN: A German court has sentenced a 33-year-old Egyptian man to life in prison for killing his daughter in a fit of jealousy.
In its verdict Thursday, Duesseldorf's regional court noted the gravity of the crime, preventing his release even after serving the standard 15-year life term.
The defendant, identified as Ahmed F. in line with German privacy rules, was found guilty of strangling his seven-year-old daughter in July 2018 because he wanted to take revenge against his wife, who he suspected of infidelity.
F. denied the allegations and claimed his daughter died in an accident.
His wife had called police after receiving a video call from F. in which he could be seen pointing a gun at their crying daughter. She was dead by the time police entered the apartment.