Male, March 5: Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed was arrested Tuesday, ahead of his trial hearing at Hulhumale Magistrate Court, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, a media report said.
Nasheed was arrested and taken into police custody at 1.30 p.m. Tuesday, Minivan News quoted police spokesperson Hassan Haneef as saying.
“We have received the order. Police have taken Nasheed into custody in order to produce him at Hulhumale Magistrate Court 15 hours from now,” Haneef said.
Minivan News said photos of Nasheed’s arrest showed several dozen police personnel wearing balaclavas and black riot gear, several armed with rubber bullet guns, entering Nasheed’s family home in Male and emerging with the former president.
Nasheed’s arrest led to a fresh uproar and spate of protests in this capital city, Xinhua reported.
Earlier, Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson Hameed Abdul Gafoor said Nasheed was arrested outside his house by police personnel, who took him away without any explanation,
“They just took him. We do not know why and we do not know where he has been taken,” Gafoor said.
Maldivian government officials said Nasheed was arrested after a court issued a third arrest warrant against him Tuesday. He is charged with ordering the military to unconstitutionally detain Judge Abdulla Mohamed, chief judge of the Criminal Court, while he was head of state.
Last month, Nasheed had evaded two earlier arrest warrants by securing diplomatic shelter in the Indian High Commission in Male. He took shelter in the Indian Mission for 11 days after failing to appear in court.
MDP believes Nasheed has been arrested over fresh summons issued by a court, said MDP member Shauna Aminath.
“The party is shocked as we do not know the real reason behind his arrest. We do not even know where he has been taken. The government has properly planned this just before the elections,” Aminath said.
MDP, however, said this is a politically motivated case designed to ensure that he does not contest the Sep 7 presidential polls.