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Maldives: Nasheed faces arrest as court deadline to appear for hearing ends today

CNN-IBN
Feb 20, 2013 at 08:39am IST

Male: Deadline for President Mohamed Nasheed to appear before a Magistrate Court in Male ends on Wednesday and the President, who is holed up in the Indian High Commission since past seven days, can be arrested if he fails to show up for the hearing.

He has been evading arrest and staying at the Indian High Commission in Male since last Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Maldivian Foreign Ministry put a fresh request with Indian officials to facilitate his arrest.

Nasheed is expected to appear in court by 4 pm in connection with the arrest orders he gave for judge Abdullah Muhammad. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who has in the recent past spoken to his Maldivian counterpart a couple of times, said Maldives is a very close friend of India.

Maldives: Court deadline for Nasheed ends today

He has been evading arrest and staying at the Indian High Commission in Male since last Wednesday.

"There is unusual stress caused by local conditions. We just wish them the best... I would certainly endorse any method and any means by which the present situation can be resolved," he said. The Minister added: "I think it is actually not a matter that gives any sense of satisfaction and if it gets resolved, we will be the happiest".

As part of the ongoing consultations, the Indian High Commissioner DM Mulay has in last few days met Thasmeen Ali, leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP). The DRP is now the second largest party in Maldives with 22,687 members and a key constituent of the coalition government headed by Mohamed Waheed.

Mulay also met prospective Presidential candidate of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Abdullah Yameen. PPM, the party belonging to former Maldivian ruler Maumoon Gayoom, has the third largest membership.

Nasheed's party has a membership of around 45,000 and is the single largest party while Waheed's party has 3,217 members, according to latest figures from the election commission. Stepping up pressure on India, Maldives has pressed for facilitation of the arrest of Nasheed against whom a fresh court warrant was issued on Tuesday.

However, India is unlikely to ask Nasheed to leave because it feels it was up to the Maldivian leader to take a call, sources had said in New Delhi. The situation showed no signs of resolution despite efforts at the official level to do so.

45-year-old Nasheed, took refuge in the Mission on February 13 to evade arrest warrant issued by a court in a case concerning the detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court during his Presidency in January 2012. In another development, Nasheed's party - Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) - has written to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid asking India to continue to support and assist to "seek a solution to the political crisis in the Maldives".

In a letter signed by Moosa Manik, MDP Chairperson,the party raised concerns over the current political crisis and "thanked the Indian government for their assistance to mediate to resolve the political issues the Maldives faces today". The MDP also raised concerns over the arrest warrant issued to present Nasheed before court on Wednesday under police custody, a statement released by the Party said.

MDP has condemned the new arrest warrant issued against Nasheed. "Waheed, in collusion with allies in the judiciary, has established a kangaroo court to convict President Nasheed. The Judicial Services Commission that set up the court comprises Waheed's appointees as well as Nasheed's political rivals, including those running for president. Waheed hides behind so-called judicial independence but his fingerprints are all over this trial," MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said in a statement.

(With Additional Inputs From PTI)

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