Baroness Scotland paid £7,500 a day to advise Maldives ‘coup leader’
A former Labour Cabinet Minister has agreed a deal to be paid £7,500 a day to advise the leader of an alleged coup in the Maldives accused of torture and repression.Ex-Attorney-General Baroness Scotland was under fire last night after details emerged of her contract with the new government of the Indian Ocean nation.
One Conservative MP called her behaviour ‘disgusting’.Leaked documents seen by the Daily Mail suggest she was paid £75,000 for two weeks’ work advising the regime on avoiding further action by the Commonwealth, which has raised serious concerns about a string of human rights abuses.
The Maldives hit the headlines in February when its first freely-elected president Mohamed ‘Anni’ Nasheed was ousted by his deputy, Mohammed Waheed Hassan.Nasheed had spent six years as a political prisoner before his election in 2008 and his first act as president was to demolish the country’s torture centre.
He was a guest at the 2009 Conservative Party conference in Manchester where he addressed delegates. Hassan insists that Nasheed ‘resigned’ – but the manner of his removal was widely condemned, with many observers branding it a coup.
Lady Scotland travelled to the Maldives for four days to meet ‘key figures’ in the main parties. Last night Baroness Scotland said in a statement: ‘I am a senior barrister with specific expertise in the area of constitutional law, criminal and civil law reform, and am skilled in mediation.
‘I have been instructed by the Attorney General of the Maldives to give legal advice. ‘All communications passing between myself and the Attorney General, whether written or oral, pertaining to the nature and extent of that advice, are confidential and legally privileged.
‘I have been approached by both the [Maldives] Government and the Opposition and have accepted the invitation made by the Government to chair a round table at which all parties are to be invited.’My advice to the Government is and will remain legally privileged.’
© Daily Mail, London
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