Author Topic: Cherie Blair launches ‘sanctions attack’ on Amal Clooney in Maldives showdown  (Read 1057 times)

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Offline mayya

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Cherie Blair launches ‘sanctions attack’ on Amal Clooney in Maldives showdown


The battle between the former prime minister’s wife and her fellow British human rights lawyer deepened amid a rancorous clash over the fate of the islands’ ousted leader

 

Cherie Blair scorned calls by Amal Clooney (R) and legal team for sanctions to be imposed on key officials of the Indian Ocean state Photo: Rex, Reuters


By Philip Sherwell, Asia Editor
7:38PM BST 16 Sep 2015


In the battle of Britain’s two most famous female lawyers over the fate of the deposed leader of the Maldives, Cherie Blair has launched a direct attack on the legal strategy of her rival Amal Clooney.
The former prime minister’s wife last night scorned calls by Mrs Clooney and legal team for sanctions to be imposed on key officials of the Indian Ocean state.

Mrs Clooney, a leading human rights lawyer and wife of the actor George, has urged the international community to impose travel bans and asset freezes in the campaign to release the Maldives’ jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed.

But Mrs Blair’s law firm Omnia Strategy has been employed to representthe autocratic government that helped organise the overthrow andprosecution of the country’s first democratically-elected leader.
And in her first public comments about the country, Mrs Blair has strongly rejected the position of Mrs Clooney, who is working pro bono on Mr Nasheed’s case.
“The call for sanctions is inappropriate and unjustified,” Mrs Blair said in a statement released by the Maldivian foreign ministry.

“Sanctions are imposed in exceptional circumstances to force compliance with international law, where there is a threat to peace, or where they are imposed in response to a specific policy. They ought not be used when dealing with a single case.”
Mrs Blair hailed her well-paying client, the Maldives government led by the half-brother of the long-time dictator, as “a young democracy recently undergoing a period of transition”.
Jared Genser, Mrs Clooney’s co-counsel, told The Telegraph that Mrs Blair was indulging in a “nice debating trick for someone without the facts on their side”.

He continued: “I’d ask if Mrs Blair believes that imprisoning dozens of political prisoners and levelling charges against some 1,700 people for their non-violent protests is an acceptable practice consistent with international law.

“We've never said, and there isn't a single independent assessment of the situation which suggests, that this situation is only about President Nasheed."

Dunya Maumoon, the foreign minister, denounced the “deeply regrettable” threat of sanctions being raised when the Maldives “demonstrate a clear commitment to upholding the rule of law”- an assertion that has been ridiculed by opposition supporters amid widespread arrests of government critics.
After Omnia encountered harsh criticism for accepting the lucrative Maldives account, Mrs Blair left public comment to an unnamed company spokesman or to Toby Cadman, the London lawyer working for the firm in the country.

Her new remarks, issued via a government statement in the capital Male, are thought to indicate that the spectre of possible sanctions has rattiled Maldives' leaders at a time when they are increasingly isolated on the world stage ahead of crucial United Nations and Commonwealth summits.
Britain last week delivered a strongly-worded warning to the Maldives to release Mr Nasheed and his fellow political prisoners or face growing international pressure. The ex-president was jailed for 13 years for controversial terrorism charges after a hasty trial at which no defence witnesses were allowed.


“The trial of former President Nasheed was very damaging for the Maldives’ international reputation," Hugo Swire, the Foreign Office minister for Asia, told The Telegraph.

"It is in the Maldives’ own interest that they restore confidence in their judicial independence and in their respect for democratic principles. This means releasing all political prisoners, Mr Nasheed included. We have set this out in public and in private repeatedly to them.


“Without progress in these areas, the Maldives risks increasing and unwelcome international attention through the autumn, with the next session of the UN Human Rights Council approaching, the UN General Assembly later this month and of course the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in November.”




http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/maldives/11870055/Cherie-Blair-launches-sanctions-attack-on-Amal-Clooney-in-Maldives-showdown.html