Maldives leader appoints new VP after ex-deputy is jailed

AP News
Posted: Jun 22, 2016 6:59 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Maldives' president appointed a new vice president on Wednesday, weeks after his former deputy was convicted of attempting to assassinate him.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom appointed Abdulla Jihad as vice president.

Jihad, who was previously finance minister, is the third vice president to be appointed by Gayoom since he was elected in October 2013. Jihad's predecessor, Ahmed Adeeb, was sacked eight months ago after being accused of trying to assassinate Gayoom by exploding a bomb in his speedboat. Gayoom escaped the blast unhurt but his wife, an aide and a bodyguard were injured.

Adeeb was sentenced to 25 years in prison earlier this month on two counts of terrorism, including the assassination attempt.

Gayoom's running mate in 2013, Mohamed Jameel, was also sacked and now lives in exile.

Widely known for its luxurious tourist resorts, Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after years of autocratic rule.

Human rights groups have accused Gayoom of harassing and jailing political opponents. Those imprisoned since last year include former President Mohamed Nasheed, former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim and opposition party leader Sheik Imran Abdulla.

Nasheed was allowed medical leave for back surgery earlier this year and traveled to Britain, where he was given asylum.