Maldives ex-President 'Mohamed Nasheed arrested'



Zeenews Bureau

Colombo: Mohammed Nasheed, former Maldivian president was arrested on Monday, after he failed to attend a court hearing to face charges of abuse of power while in office, his party spokesman said on Twitter.

Maldivian police arrested Nasheed, 45, at the Island of Faresmaathodaa of Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, south of Maldives.

Maldivian Democratic Party spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor tweeted, "President Nasheed grabbed from protesting supporters, arrested and being taken away from Fares-Mathoda".

Police spokesman Hassan Haneef confirmed that the former president has been arrested after Hulhumale Magistrate Court ordered the police to produce him before it.

A Maldives court had ordered ex-President Mohamed Nasheed to be arrested if he failed to appear for a hearing to face charges that he illegally ordered the arrest of a judge.

Last week, the Hulhumale Magistrate Court ordered Nasheed to appear at a hearing and not leave the capital, Male, without the court's permission. Nasheed defied both orders.

He refused to appear before a three-judge bench set up to hear charges that he abused his power while in office.

"Questioning the legitimacy of the ad hoc Magistrate Court, I have appealed the case with the high court and I await a decision," he wrote on Twitter.

Nasheed, who is the first democratically elected president of the island nation, fears he would not be given a fair trial.

The case is regarding his decision to send the military to arrest a senior judge in January, an action that led to protests and his resignation in February.

If found guilty, Nasheed could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in jail or banished to a remote island or a fine not exceeding MVR 2,000.

If Nasheed is convicted and sentenced to a period of more than one year, he would be disqualified from contesting in the upcoming Presidential election.

Nasheed — who has said he was forced from office in a coup d'etat — also openly defied the court's order by leaving the capital in a fishing boat to another island to engage in his election campaign.

Nasheed's supporters have been demanding early elections by holding protests but President Mohammed Waheed Hassan has said he will not hold elections before July 2013.

With Agency Inputs