Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who defied a court summons and a confined-to-an-island arrest last week, was taken into custody in a southern island of the archipelago on Monday morning.
“This morning, at 9.45am, 50 heavily armed masked police in full riot gear and wearing gas masks smashed down the door of a house where President Nasheed and his campaign team were staying and took him into custody. Although the police have confirmed that President Nasheed and his colleagues offered no resistance, the police still smashed the door, pepper sprayed the Nasheed’s cabinet ministers and the rest of the people present, and acted with extreme aggression,” said the Maldivian Democratic Party in a statement. An arrest warrant for Mr. Nasheed was issued on Sunday.
Mr. Nasheed was at a mass-contact programme in the southern island of Fares-Maathoda, just over 400 km from the capital Male, when he was taken into custody. Speaking to The Hindu , Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, MDP spokesperson for international affairs, said that masked personnel of the MNDF descended on the island early on Monday morning and arrested the former President. “They just dragged him away to their mother boat. They came in about five boats to the island,” he said.
“Police is carrying out their duties…It’s the judiciary’s decision. Nasheed is taken on court order for having absconded [from] the court twice now. We as government have no control in the judiciary,” said a Maldivian Minister, when asked about the arrest. He was being brought to Male, the Minister added.
Mr. Nasheed blamed the support the United States had extended to his successor, Waheed Hasan, for his plight. Just before the arrest, he said: “MNDF [Maldivian National Defence Force] on way to arrest me & I can see them now. Given U.S. involvement with MNDF difficult to believe this done without U.S. consent.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, which also caters to Maldives, denied Mr. Nasheed’s charge.