Former President Mohamed Nasheed is set to complete a week’s stay on the Indian High Commission premises in Male, even as a local court issued a second warrant to arrest him.
“The Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court has issued a second arrest warrant for former President Mohamed Nasheed,” Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson Hamid Abdul Gafoor told The Hindu. A Maldivian news website, Minivan News, confirmed it by quoting an official from the Judiciary Media Unity. The next hearing in the case of his “abducting” a judge when he was President is on February 20.
Mr. Nasheed missed the first hearing on February 10 and walked into the Indian High Commission on February 13 after the court ordered that he be produced before it. His MDP says the case is an attempt to prevent him from contesting the September 7 presidential elections.
Speaking to The Hindu on an earlier occasion, President Mohamed Waheed Hasan and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom — the longest serving Maldivian President who now heads a political party, the PPM — had held that Mr. Nasheed had acted illegally in arresting a judge when he was President and must face the law of the land.
Mr. Nasheed’s stay at the Indian High Commission has strained the already frail relations between India’s outpost in the archipelago and the Maldivian government. Before an Indian multinational company operating the Male airport, GMR, was thrown out, a senior Maldivian government official had accused the Indian High Commissioner of working to further the interests of the corporate. Soon after Mr. Nasheed sought refuge, elements in the government obliquely criticised India and accused it of interfering in Maldives’ internal affairs. On Sunday, the Indian High Commissioner was summoned to the Maldivian Foreign Ministry and handed a protest note.
Male has witnessed protest rallies by the MDP and police action too, since Mr. Nasheed took refuge at the Indian High Commission. Many MDP activists have been arrested, the party alleged.
The High Commission of India in Maldives has taken note of the “Information Note” dated February 17, 2013, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Maldives on the “Continued Presence of Former President in the Indian High Commission”. In this regard, the High Commission wishes to deny in entirety the contents made in Para 2 of the above note alleging that the Chancery is being used by the former President Mohamed Nasheed for political meetings and instigating street violence.
It is reiterated that no political meetings and activities have been allowed in the Mission premises during the presence of former President. Only limited visitors are allowed to meet the former President on strict need basis.