Presidential power struggle in the Maldives: South Asia Journal

The detention of the judge had provided the spark for a police and military mutiny – labelled by many a coup d’etat – which resulted in Nasheed’s departure from office on February 7, 2011, writes Daniel Bosley for the South Asia Journal.

“Alleging his resignation had come under duress, Nasheed and his supporters took to the streets the following day where they were met with brutal suppression by a police force which has yet to be brought to account for the numerous human rights abuses that ensued.

The Kafkaesque legal polemics when Nasheed was forcefully brought before the court for the first hearing in October hinted at deeper issues which underscore the country’s recent crises. Contending legal opinions suggested an illegal arrest warrant had been used, from an illegally assembled court, to bring an illegally removed president to trial, for the illegal detention of an illegal judge.

This labyrinthine situation indicates the urgent need for police and judicial reform in a struggling democracy which is looking increasingly rudderless. After months of political deadlock, street demonstrations, accusation and counter-accusation, Nasheed’s trial presents an opportunity to bring the political crisis back to where it began, with the judiciary and the criminal justice system.

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