Ousted former Maldivian President Nasheed takes refuge in Indian Embassy in Male

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 12:09 hrs

Male: Anti-riots police have surrounded the Indian High Commission in Male after former President Mohamed Nasheed went there, soon after an arrest warrant was issued against him by a Maldivian court.

The former President, who is due to attend a hearing regarding his detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012, was inside the Indian High Commission at 1:00 PM on Wednesday afternoon following the announcement of the court order.

Nasheed is "seeking advice" in Indian High Commission, Minivan News reported.

Police have set up barricades around the High Commission area.

The court summons follows Nasheed's failure to attend his previously scheduled trial hearing at Hulhumale' Magistrate Court on February 10.

Nasheed has been accused of abusing his power by ordering the arrest of a senior judge during his tenure.

The case centres around Nasheed's decision in January 2012 to send the military to arrest the head of the country's criminal court Abdullah Mohamed on charges of corruption, misconduct and favouring then-opposition figures.

Nasheed justified the arrest saying that the judicial service commission had failed to take action against the judge, who had a string of allegations against him.

A conviction could see Nasheed handed a jail term of up to three years in prison or banishment to a small island, a move that would disqualify him from running for office.

The former President was on an visit to India after being granted permission to depart the country by the court.

Despite his permitted travel period expiring on February 9, Nasheed arrived back in Male on February 11, Minivan reported.

Nasheed tweets from embassy

"Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives," tweeted Maldivian opposition leader Nasheed.

A large number of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters gathered on hearing the news, reported sun.mv online news portal

A sense of uncertainty has gripped the Maldives ever since Nasheed resigned Feb 7 last year followed what he alleged was a coup. Mohammed Waheed Hassan succeeded him.

Nasheed faced protests over his decision to sack Abdulla Mohamed.

Nasheed later claimed that he was forced to quit at gun-point and urged the international community to help restore "democracy" in the South Asian archipelago.

BJP concerned over Maldives

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday expressed serious concern over the situation in Maldives with senior party leader Sushma Swaraj speaking to National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on the issue.

"The situation in Maldives is a matter of serious concern," Swaraj tweeted after former president Mohamed Nasheed took refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male, the capital city of Maldives.

"I have spoken to NSA and and asked him that the government should keep us informed in this regard," she added.

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