Maldives: India in quandary over Nasheed

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 03:27 hrs
Maldives: India in quandary over Nasheed

New Delhi: India is in a quandary over the situation in Maldives after former president Mohamed Nasheed took refuge inside the Indian High Commission in Male to avoid arrest by the present regime which overthrew him.

India's external affairs minister Salman Khurshid had to speak to his counterpart in Maldives on Thursday to explain the country's position on the situation. 

"I had a long conversation with the foreign minister of Maldives. I hope that we can come to a resolution on the present situation," Khurshid told reporters later. 

Nasheed is inside the Indian High Commission for over 24 hours now though the Maldives government said the arrest warrant against Nasheed issued by the court has expired and he is a free man.

Nasheed's lawyer Hassan Latif said India can intervene and resolve the situation. 

"We are seeking Indian mediation," Latif said, adding that India has the sophistication to deal with the situation. 

Maldivian president's press secretary Masood Imad, however, said the warrant against Nasheed is not valid anymore and "so Nasheed is a free man again."

"The procedure here is the court issues a arrest warrant for a reason, and if the reason and time frame have passed, then the warrant seizes to exist," he clarified.

Earlier, India has confirmed that Ex-Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male after a court issued an arrest warrant against him.

The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement confirming the same on Wednesday.

"Following the arrest warrant issued against him by the Hulhumale Magistrate Court, the former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who is a candidate for the Presidential elections in Maldives scheduled for September 2013, is in the Indian High Commission and has sought India’s assistance. We are in touch with the relevant Maldivian authorities to resolve the situation," said the MEA statement.

"As a close and friendly neighbour, India has expressed concern over the ongoing political instability in Maldives and called upon the Government and all political parties to adhere strictly to democratic principles and the rule of law, thereby paving the way for free, fair, credible and inclusive elections. Now that the President of the Election Commission of Maldives has announced that Presidential elections would be held on 7 September 2013, it is necessary that the Presidential nominees of recognized political parties be free to participate in the elections without any hindrance," India said.

"Prevention of participation by political leaders in the contest would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in Maldives. This is not in the interest of Maldives or the region. India would call upon the Government and all political parties in Maldives to avoid any actions that would vitiate the political atmosphere in the Maldives," said the statement of MEA.

Nasheed made the move of taking refuge inside Indian high commission building after a Maldivian court issued an arrest warrant against him following his failure to attend a court hearing on Feb 10 in connection to the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdullah Mohamed last year.

The police will not be able to arrest him till he is inside the Indian High Commission.

Nasheed on Feb 7 last year resigned after public protests disrupted the island nation for weeks over his order to arrest chief judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed.

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