Former Maldives President Awaits Arrest

Posted February 9th, 2012 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The former president of the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, awaited arrest Thursday, after a criminal court in the capital, Male, issued a warrant for him and his defense minister.

Mr. Nasheed told reporters at his home he hopes the international community will respond quickly because he expects to be jailed soon. His wife and daughter fled to Sri Lanka, but the former leader said will fight the proceedings and not leave the Maldives because, as he put it, “the whole country will go to the dogs” .

Mr. Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, said he was forced from office in a coup and that the new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, his former second-in-command, should immediately step down.

He said he feared that his successor was involved in the coup attempt and had seized the chance to take over. He has urged the country's judiciary to investigate those responsible for his ouster.

However, President Hassan has denied the allegations, saying he was unprepared to take control of the country. He also announced plans to appoint a unity cabinet in the next few days.

The arrest warrant for Mr. Nasheed was issued a day after violent clashes Wednesday between police and his supporters spread throughout the capital to several outlying islands.

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 former deputy, Waheed Hassan, was sworn in as president hours later.

The resignation came after Mr. Nasheed ordered the arrest of a senior judge, sparking three weeks of protests.


The following soundbites are available in the attached videos:

AP feed: (English) Mohammed Nazin, newly-appointed Minister of Defence:

“The Maldives National Defence Force strongly condemns the act of terrorism which involved arson of public property, destruction of public property and threats posed to the public, public safety and security forces which were conducted by the riots in the last 24 hours.”

(English) Brigadier General Ahmed Shiyam, Acting Chief of Defence Force:

“We'll be totally behind the law enforcement agencies, to assist them in any event they need our assistance, and we will assure the safety and security of our people in any way we can.”

(English) Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, newly-appointed Minister of Home Affairs:

“I would define it as the saddest day in the modern history of the Maldives. Nothing, nothing, warrants this scale of destruction. It is clearly an irresponsible act on the part of those who are involved in it. What is going on cannot be justified in the name of democracy, in the name of freedom of expression, in the name of expressing your grievances as well. It is clearly beyond the limits of law.”


“They've issued an arrest warrant to arrest me. Now, the new Home Minister has pledged that I will be the first former president to spend all my life in jail, so I think he's working on his delivery of his pledge.''


“I hope the international community will take note of what is happening in the Maldives, and if they can't do something right now, it certainly will be late tomorrow.''


“We tend to work with facts on the ground, and tomorrow, the fact on the ground will be that I will be in jail, so it will be difficult to rewind from there on, but it will be rather much more easier if people can start work now.''


“It was a peaceful protest. The police beat up the protesters very very brutally, and therefore, of course, the reaction to that from the public was very strong hatred towards the police. And unfortunately a number of police stations have been burned down, and we do not appreciate that, and we cannot ask anyone to be violent, and we cannot.''