Nasheed treated like “a fugitive”, MDP tells New York Times

The former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, was detained on Monday for failing to turn up for a court hearing in a case involving the unlawful arrest of a High Court judge when Mr Nasheed was president, writes Sruthi Gottipati for the New York Times.

Mr. Nasheed was arrested by the police while on a campaign stop in Fares-Maathodaa island, one of the 1,200 islands that make up the tiny Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives, ahead of the presidential elections in July next year.

While there’s little argument that the police took Mr. Nasheed into custody, there’s plenty of disagreement concerning the manner in which it took place.

Mr. Nasheed’s supporters said he had just eaten breakfast at a party member’s home when masked police broke into the house armed in full riot gear, spewing obscenities, and swept the former president out in what his supporters contend was a politically motivated move solely aimed at stopping him from campaigning.

Maldivian Democratic Party workers said that former ministers and aides in Mr. Nasheed’s government who were in the house were pepper-sprayed and violently dragged out.

“You could only see their eyes,” said Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, the spokesman for Mr. Nasheed’s party, describing the police who he said had burst in to brutally arrest their party leader. “They wanted to make it look like they were catching a fugitive.”

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