السبت , يونيو 13 2020

Maldives ex-leader denied bail

Mohamed Nasheed being taken to the Criminal Court in Male, 23 Feb 2015Mr Nasheed’s shirt was ripped in the scuffle

A court in the Maldives has denied bail to the country’s former President Mohamed Nasheed, who was arrested on Sunday under anti-terror laws.

Mr Nasheed, who is now leader of the main opposition party, is to stand trial for ordering the arrest of a judge three years ago while president.

The court gave him three days to appoint a lawyer.

As he was brought into court Mr Nasheed was manhandled by police when he tried to speak to reporters.

He fell, was dragged through the street, and was later seen in court with his arm in a sling.

His Maldivian Democratic Party said it “deplore[d] the blatant denial of due process” by the Maldives prosecutor-general and described the charge of terrorism as “trumped up”.

Maldives police try to move former President Mohamed Nasheed (C) during a scuffle as he arrives at a courthouse in Male 23 February 2015. The police tried to stop him speaking to reporters…

Maldives police try to move former president Mohamed Nasheed during a scuffle as he arrives at a courthouse in Male on 23 February 2015.…and he had to be dragged into the courtroom

It called for his immediate release.

His advisers told the BBC that he wants to appeal but he faces bureaucratic obstacles in doing so.

Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon told the BBC that the case concerned the “kidnapping and abduction of an innocent person” and such an activity was “linked to terrorism in the Maldives legal system”.

Insisting that the case was in the purview of the legal authorities, she said Mr Nasheed was being kept in custody because he had a “history of avoiding and evading the courts”.

Mr Nasheed is a former human rights campaigner who was the island nation’s first democratically elected leader.

His arrest adds to growing instability in the small coral atoll nation, the BBC’s Charles Haviland reports.

President Abdullah Yameen, elected in 2013, has recently become alienated from key former colleagues.

He arrested his defence minister, accusing him of plotting a coup, and has been deserted by another former ally, a powerful resort tycoon who has now joined hands with Mr Nasheed. He has also sacked the chief justice and another judge.

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