Intro: The ruthlessness exhibited by the Maldivian government in Mohamed Nasheed’s arrest episode has created chaos. Coming in his defence, the Asian Centre for Human Rights has asked Maldivian government to release former President immediately.
Mohamed Nasheed (47) was arrested on February 22 by Maldivian government under anti-terrorism laws for allegedly ordering the arrest a senior judge in 2012 that triggered violence in the Indian Ocean Island. He appeared before the Criminal Court on February 24. He was virtually dragged by the security forces as he was presented before the court, which ruled that the Opposition leader will remain in custody until the case against him was complete. While India had not reacted to the arrest, its statement on February 23 refers to concern over both the “arrest and manhandling” of the former president of Maldives.
Who is Mohamed Nasheed?
Mohamed Nasheed was the Maldives’ first democratically elected president. In historic democratic polls in 2008, Nasheed was elected president, sweeping away 30 years of one-man rule.Imprisoned and tortured in the Maldives on many occasions for his political beliefs, Nasheed was named an Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience,” and is widely credited for bringing freedom and democracy to the Maldives.
India said it was concerned over recent developments in the Maldives, including the “arrest and manhandling” of Nasheed, and asked all the involved to resolve their differences within the constitutional framework.
Meanwhile, the United Nations stated that it was closely monitoring the situation in the Maldives and called for transparency in legal proceedings. On the other side, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on February 24 called upon the President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen to immediately release former President Mohamed Nasheed arrested on terrorism charges. ACHR also called upon the United States, European Union, India, Singapore and others to impose a travel embargo on Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and presiding Judge Abdulla Didi for the illegal arrest and detention of Nasheed, and to push for accountability for the physical assault on Nasheed inside the court premises on 23 February 2015.
“The arrest and detention of former President Nasheed on terrorism charges is a grotesque act of political vendetta. The accountability of Prosecutor General Muhsin and Presiding Judge Didi must be established, including under universal jurisdiction for meting out torture, inhumane and degrading treatment to former President Nasheed in the court premises” said Shri Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
ACHR further stated that if the Government of Maldives fails to stop human rights violations targeting political opponents, it shall call for a resolution against the Government of Maldives at the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council to be held in Geneva from 2 to 27 March 2015 and recommend a boycott of President Abdulla Yameen’s regime, including any engagement with Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon.
President Abdullah Yameen of the ruling Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) was elected with the support of Jumhooree Party (JP) after defeating President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in the Presidential elections of November 2013. On February 22, 2015, Prosecutor General Muhsin filed charges under Article 2(b) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 1990 (PTA) against former President Nasheed on the same matter that Nasheed had been exonerated i.e. detention of Criminal Court judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012. The first hearing of Nasheed before the Criminal Court under the PTA was scheduled for February 23, 2015. However, on the very day fresh charges were filed on February 22, 2015, Nasheed was deemed a flight risk and arrested.