Maldives ex-prez Mohammed Nasheed takes refuge in Indian HC

Former Maldives president sought refuge in the Indian Embassy on Wednesday even as a huge posse of police stand guard outside to arrest him when he comes out.

Zeenews Bureau

Male, Maldives: Former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed on Wednesday confirmed that he has taken refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male, after an arrest warrant was issued against him.

Outside the Indian Embassy in Maldives` capital, a huge posse of police stand guard outside to arrest him as soon as he comes out.

The Maldivian Court has rejected Nasheed`s
application for stay on his arrest.

Earlier reports said that Nasheed was "seeking advice" in Indian High Commission and it was not clear if he had sought refuge, but Nasheed confirmed the report by tweeting, "Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian HC in Maldives."

Nasheed sought shelter after an arrest warrant was issued against him for not attending a court hearing - on Feb 10 - in connection with the detention of criminal court judge in January 2012, during his tenure as the president.

The Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court issued the summon after Nasheed failed to turn up at the previously scheduled trial hearing on February 10.

The former President was on an visit to India after being granted permission to depart the country by the court.
Despite his permitted travel period expiring on February 9, Nasheed arrived back in Male on February 11, a local news website reported.

As the Indian High Commission is a designated diplomatic area, he cannot be arrested till the time he remains inside the complex.

According to Indian officials, the former Maldivian President had sought a meeting with Mulay at Indian High Commission, who flew back to Maldives early morning today from Delhi.

Meanwhile, Nasheed`s party has condemned the arrest warrant, saying, “The MDP reiterates its belief that the arrest warrant and the charges against him are politically motivated and calls on the international community to remain vigilant and immediately intervene to ensure a free and fair trial for President Nasheed,” the party said.

MDP also said that police had intended to arrest Nasheed in secret in order to present him at his court hearing today, reported Minivan, a local news website.

Tens of policemen in full combat gear are standing guard outside the embassy even as hundreds of Nasheed’s supporters continue to converge outside the gates to extend him support.

Nasheed, who served as the fourth President of his country from 2008 to 2012, was ousted in February in a coup backed by Islamists and loyalists of former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.