MNDF ‘withdrew’ former First Lady’s bodyguards

The military withdrew former first lady Laila Ali’s body guards at an anti-government protest on June 12, the office of the former president Mohamed Nasheed said in a statement today.

Noting that the constitution and the law on privileges and benefits for former presidents require the state to provide security services for the former first lady, the statement said that the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) had provided body guards for other former first ladies at political rallies.

Laila, too, had been provided security at other political events, the statement said.

Nasheed is serving a 13-year jail-term on terrorism charges. His arrest and imprisonment triggered the ongoing political crisis in the Maldives.

The ex-president’s office condemned the military’s withdrawal of security guards and said that the military needs to be “depoliticized.” The statement called on the government to refrain from any acts that may undermine public trust in the military.

An MNDF spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, but said: “If security is not being provided, we will provide a reason. We will also notify them if and when we resume security.”

The police broke up the 2,000 strong sit-in at midnight. But protests continued until 4am. Some 12 people, including MP Ahmed Mahloof were arrested, and released by the court the next day.