Maldives police arrest ex-president

2012-10-08 14:59
Members of the Maldivian police arrest former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed in Fares Maathodaa, in the south of Maldives. (Maldivian Democratic Party, AFP)

Members of the Maldivian police arrest former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed in Fares Maathodaa, in the south of Maldives. (Maldivian Democratic Party, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Male - Armed Maldivian police arrested the country's first democratically elected president on Monday after he ignored court orders to stand trial for allegedly abusing his power while in office, his party said.

Police in riot gear and armed with an arrest warrant broke down a door of a house where Mohamed Nasheed was staying on the island of Fares Maathodaa in the south of the archipelago, a famous honeymoon spot for the rich and famous.

The ex-president, who resigned in February in what he considers to be a coup, was escorted by at least a dozen officers and was taken away by boat to the capital Male, according to his party and photos of the arrest.

"Police are carrying out their duties," presidential spokesperson Masood Imad said. "Police have not used excessive force. He is being accorded due respect as a former president of the country."

On Sunday, a local court ordered police to arrest Nasheed, who has twice failed to show up for trial. He faces charges of abusing his powers while in office by ordering the military to arrest a senior judge.

He has challenged the legality of the trial and says he is unable to get a fair hearing, and has refused to abide by a travel ban that restricts him to the capital island.

Police mutiny

A magistrates' court on Sunday issued a warrant asking police to "keep Mr Nasheed in custody until he is produced before the court".

In a statement issued hours before his arrest, Nasheed's MDP party urged the international community to put pressure on his successor as president, Mohamed Waheed, his former deputy.

"The MDP strongly calls on the international community, our development partners, to immediately engage in dialogue with Dr Waheed to maintain maximum restraint," said the statement.

Nasheed, who won the first free elections in the Maldives in 2008, resigned as president in February after public protests and a mutiny by police who took over the state television broadcaster.

A Commission of National Inquiry, consisting of four respected Maldivians and a Singaporean judge appointed by the Commonwealth group of nations, rejected the "coup" theory and held the transfer of power as "constitutional".

MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that democracy had been "on life-support since February, but today the plug was pulled and the lights turned off".

Former prisoner of conscience

The government rejected the MDP allegation and said Nasheed was arrested because he was in contempt of court and Monday's police action showed that democracy was at work in the nation of 330 000 Sunni Muslims.

"Democracy is strong and alive in the Maldives and we have shown that even a former president cannot be in contempt of court," spokesperson Imad said.

If convicted, Nasheed could be jailed or banished to a remote island for three years, a punishment that could bar him from future elections.

The next elections are scheduled to take place by July next year.

Nasheed is a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. He was thrown in jail over a period of six years during the rule of former autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Nasheed ousted Gayoom at the 2008 elections. But his party failed to win an outright majority at subsequent parliamentary elections, leading to constant friction between the executive and a hostile legislature.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    mohamed nasheed  |  mohamed waheed  |  maldives
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
LIVE: New Zealand 14-6 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred
Lancaster comes out guns blazing

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.