News24

Call for Maldives president's detention

2012-02-07 13:47

Colombo - Maldives main opposition party vowed on Tuesday to protect the "constitutional rights" of resigned president Mohamed Nasheed, amid calls for him to be taken into military custody and charged with corruption.

"We have asked the military to ensure president Nasheed's constitutional rights are upheld," said Mohamed Shareef, spokesperson for former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Speaking to AFP from the Maldives capital Male, Shareef said Nasheed was at home and "being allowed to communicate with people outside".

Nasheed, who ousted Gayoom from power in 2008 in the Maldives first democratic presidential election, resigned on Tuesday in the face of widespread popular protests and a mutiny within police ranks.

Gayoom, who is in Malaysia on a medical visit, was extremely "relieved" to hear that the president had stepped down, Shareef said.

Protective custody

"He told us it was now very important that the authorities move swiftly to assure the rule of law," Shareef said.

Earlier, the opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), which has accused Nasheed of being under the influence of Jews and Christians, said it had requested the army to detain Nasheed.

"We have asked the military to keep [Nasheed] in protective custody, to face charges of corruption and misuse of power," DQP leader Hassan Saeed said.

"His rule was tainted with nepotism and corruption, often breaching the constitution," Saeed said.

Nasheed, aged 44, who was educated in Sri Lanka and Britain, came to power in 2008 after building a pro-democracy movement with local and foreign support in opposition to the 30-year autocratic rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.