Baroness Scotland paid £7,500 A DAY to advise Maldives 'coup leader' accused of torture
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.
Tory MP John Glen said it was ‘outrageous’ that a former British attorney-general was advising a regime responsible for ousting a democratically-elected president.
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He said: ‘What happened in the Maldives was a military coup. She should hang her head in shame.’
Conservative MP Karen Lumley, who worked in the Maldives before being elected to Parliament, said: ‘President Nasheed was overthrown in a coup and the Maldives is now very unstable.
'Many of my friends there have been arrested by the new regime. It is disgusting that a former British attorney-general should take a well-paid job advising the new regime, which has no democratic mandate.’
A supporter of former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed is arrested during protests this week
The payment is not listed in Lady Scotland’s entry on the House of Lords’ register of members’ interests.
Her entry says she has set up a firm to provide ‘private consultancy services’ but says it is ‘not trading at present’.
Conservative MP Karen Lumley, who has previously worked in the Maldives, branded Baroness Scotland's behaviour as 'disgusting'
Lady Scotland’s appointment followed an intervention by the Commonwealth, which described the situation in the Maldives as ‘unacceptable’ and appointed a special envoy, Sir Don McKinnon, to investigate.
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.’
In 2009 Lady Scotland was fined £5,000 for hiring an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper at her London home.
She admitted failing to retain copies of Loloahi Tapui’s passport.