Arrest Warrant Issued for Former Maldives Leader

Posted February 9th, 2012 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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A criminal court in the Maldives has issued an arrest warrant for the country's first democratically elected president, who has vowed he will stay in the country and fight the proceedings.

An official from former President Mohamed Nasheed's party says the court has ordered the arrest of Mr. Nasheed and his former defense minister, but that the charges against them remain unclear.

The former president told reporters at his home Thursday that he hopes the international community will respond quickly because he expects to be jailed soon. Mr. Nasheed also said he will not leave the country because, as he put it, “the whole country will go to the dogs” .

On Wednesday, clashes between police and supporters of Mr. Nasheed spread throughout the capital, Male , to several outlying islands. The national police commissioner, Abdullah Riyaz, said 18 police stations across several islands were destroyed, and damage had been done to other government buildings.

Newly appointed Home Minister Mohammed Jamil Ahmed told reporters the violence marked the worst day in the Maldives' modern history.

Mr. Nasheed resigned Tuesday after numerous calls by protesters and police officers for him to step down.

His government had faced three weeks of mounting protests after he ordered the arrest of a senior judge, based on charges of misconduct and favoring opposition figures.

Then-vice president Waheed Hassan, the nation's Supreme Court, and the United Nations Human Rights Commission had all called for the judge to be released.

Mr. Nasheed has described his arrest as a coup attempt and accused Mr. Hassan of being involved. Mr. Hassan, who has now assumed the presidency, has denied the allegations.