Nasheed held world's first underwater cabinet meeting

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 12:10 hrs

Male, Feb 13 (IANS) Mohamed Nasheed, who stepped down as the president of the Maldives last year and Tuesday took refuge at the Indian High Commission here, hit the world headlines four years ago when he held a cabinet meeting under water to highlight global warming and the threat to his atoll nation.

Nasheed and his ministers were in full scuba gear as they met for about 30 minutes at a depth of six metres just north of the capital Male in 2009.

The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls and a cluster of 1,192 islands, some of them barely inches above the sea level.

Nasheed took sanctuary at the Indian High Commission here Tuesday after a court issued an arrest order for his failing to attend a hearing in the illegal detention of a judge.

"Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives," tweeted Nasheed, now the Maldivian opposition leader who was the first democratically elected president in the history of his country.

He was elected president Oct 28, 2008, defeating incumbent president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives from 1978-2008.

Nasheed graduated from Liverpool University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Maritime Studies.

In 1990, he helped establish Sangu, a political magazine that scrutinised the ruling political class. The government banned Sangu within a year of its first publication and Nasheed was arrested and jailed.

In 2003, Nasheed fled the Maldives. A year later, on Nov 10, 2004, he co-founded the country's first opposition party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, in exile in Sri Lanka.

After spending 18 months in self-imposed exile, Nasheed returned to the Maldives April 30, 2005, to establish the MDP in the Maldives, defying a government edict banning political parties.

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