Home » HRW calls for fair, transparent and impartial proceedings in Seychelles anti-corruption case

HRW calls for fair, transparent and impartial proceedings in Seychelles anti-corruption case

by Derek Andrews
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In a statement issued Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) referred to as on Seychelles to carry truthful and open authorized processes towards former presidential advisor Mukesh Valabhji and different defendants accused of embezzlement and cash laundering along with illegal firearm possession and conspiracy to commit terrorism in November 2021.

Valabhji and his spouse have been each implicated within the 2002 misappropriation and cash laundering of donations of international help from the UAE. Ashwanee Budoo-Scholtz, deputy director of the Africa division at HRW, commented:

The authorities ought to make sure that the judicial proceedings are carried out in keeping with the Seychelles constitution and worldwide human rights legal guidelines. Abusive and partial software within the enforcement of anticorruption and arms management legal guidelines, dangers undermining the very rule of regulation they search to enthrone.

Transparency advocates have hailed the arrests and subsequent authorized motion towards the defendants as a positive development, applauding the anti-corruption fee’s work. Chrystold Chetty, chairman of Transparency Initiative Seychelles, expressed optimism that such actions sign a dedication to combating corruption inside the nation.

Nevertheless, delays and anomalies within the judicial course of have plagued the case. A request by the Valabhjis to have Chief Justice Rony step down from overseeing the case was denied by the Supreme Court docket in 2023. The courtroom decided that the couple’s allegations of bias stemming from their private relationship with the Chief Justice have been unfounded and unrelated to the case at hand.

The defendants’ authorized representatives knowledgeable HRW that they petitioned the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, alleging violations of their rights to a good trial and publicity to abusive remedy. They cited the prosecution’s failure to reveal crucial paperwork and data, in addition to the last-minute introduction of recent witnesses, with the courtroom allegedly disregarding their objections.

Valabhji got here below scrutiny within the Pandora Papers, a complete investigation led by the Worldwide Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its companions. This investigation, which coated a variety of rich and highly effective folks’s murky monetary actions, uncovered Valabhji’s widespread utilization of offshore financial institution accounts and shell firms. With assistance from an intensive database of paperwork stolen from offshore service suppliers within the Seychelles, the investigation revealed not solely the nation’s standing as a well-liked tax haven but in addition the covert monetary dealings of over 20 politicians from Europe, Asia and Africa.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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