Former President Nasheed arrested in morning raid

Additional reporting by Mariyath Mohamed

Masked police in gas masks and riot gear have stormed a house on Fares-Mathoda in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll and taken former President Mohamed Nasheed into custody.

The arrest follows the Hulhumale Magistrate Court yesterday issuing a warrant for Nasheed’s arrest and presentation in court on Tuesday October 9.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs Imthiyaz Fahmy and Ilyas Labeeb were also taken into custody, along with former Minister of Environment Mohamed Aslam.

An MDP source on the island told Minivan News the three were not arrested but had accompanied Nasheed voluntarily.

“They did not want to let him be taken alone,” said the source, claiming that 50 police were involved in the operation to break down the door and take the country’s first democratically-elected President into custody.

MDP Chairperson Reeko Moosa Manik said police broke down the door of the house and pepper sprayed the former President.

“Everybody was masked and in riot gear, and we couldn’t identify any of the police officers,” Moosa said.

Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that Nasheed would be returned to Male’ where he will be presented in court tomorrow.

Haneef said that Nasheed had been taken at around 9:45am.

“There was no trouble. Nasheed was very cooperative,” Haneef said, but was unable to confirm whether police had used pepper spray.

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza tweeted on October 5 that “After Tuesday morning either you are with us or with the enemy. There is no negotiation or middle ground after Tuesday,” however Minivan News is trying to confirm whether Riza was referring to the trial of Nasheed or last week’s murder of Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Dr Afrasheem Ali.

Riza was not responding at time of press. However President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News that the government had not been contacted by any foreign governments or international organisations expressing concern over the detention of the former President.

“We have asked the Maldives Police Service to notify media of any developments.  The President’s Office wishes to stay clear of this matter,” he said. “We know as much as the [media] about developments right now.”
Masood added that he had been informed that despite allegations raised by the MDP concerning alleged use of excessive force to seize the former president, police authorities had said insisted that officers had acted with restraint.
“I’m told [Nasheed] asked for a box of cigarettes, a request that [officers] granted.  He was given Benson and Hedges as I understand,” Masood said.

Charges against Nasheed

The issuing of the warrant – exactly seven months after Nasheed’s ousting – follows his defiance of a court-ordered travel ban outside the capital Male’, and two court summons.

The MDP has disputed the legitimacy of the Hulhumale court and three-member panel of judges appointed to oversee the proceedings, and sought to appeal in the High Court.

The party today called on the Supreme Court to declare the Hulhumale Court illegitimate, and announced its intention to launch protests.

The specific charge against the former President concerns his detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed, during his final days in office.

Nasheed’s government justified the judge’s detention on the basis of national security, claiming he had “taken the entire criminal justice system in his fist”, and that the institutions mandated with keeping the judiciary accountable – the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and Parliament’s Independent Commissions Committee – were politically manipulated by the former regime.

The state alleges that Nasheed violated Article 81 of the Penal Code, which states that the detention of a government employee who has not been found guilty of a crime is illegal.

If found guilty, Nasheed will face a jail sentence or banishment for three years or a MVR 3000 (US$193.5) fine, a sentence that would bar him from contesting future elections.

Former Minister of Defence Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Colonel Mohamed Ziyad, former Chief of Defence Moosa Ali Jaleel and MNDF Southern Commander Brigadier-General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi also face charges.

Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) reacted last week by rejecting the authority of the country’s lower courts, contending that the trial was a politically-motivated attempt to prevent Nasheed from running in the 2013 Presidential election.

The MDP said yesterday that the party was “deeply disturbed and worried” about the decision to arrest the party’s presidential candidate, “and produce him to a widely disputed court.”

“The MDP notes with grave concern the state proceeds to prosecute President Nasheed while the UNHRC, ICJ, CoNI report, Amnesty International, FIDH, other leading human rights groups and our bilateral partners have expressed deep concerns over the independence and competence of the Maldivian judiciary,” the party said.

“We are currently on presidential campaign trail by boats in the Southern atolls. This trip has been organized for months and immediately after the dates of the trip were announced, the courts decided to summon our candidate to a court that is unlawfully established. Leading experts and lawyers have questioned the legitimacy of this court,” MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.

“This is not about justice. This is a politically motivated trial to invalidate our candidate’s candidacy and to deliberately disrupt the MDP’s presidential campaign. We are in the largest voting centers and it is very clear who will win the elections. They can only win the elections by invalidating his candidacy. We are deeply disturbed by the developing situation. We do not believe he will have a fair trial,” said Ghafoor.

Return to prison

Nasheed became the Maldives’ first democratically elected President in 2008, ending the 30 year rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Asia’s longest serving leader.

Under Gayoom’s rule Nasheed spent 18 months in jail, including long periods in solitary confinement, and was declared an Amnesty prisoner of conscience.

He resigned from office on February 7 after police and military officers joined forces with opposition demonstrators and assaulted the country’s military headquarters and state broadcaster. Leadership passed to his Vice President, Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

A Commonwealth-backed domestic inquiry in August concluded that the transfer of power was legitimate, however the MDP alleged key testimonies were overlooked and evidence dismissed.

The controversial transfer of power has resulted in months of political instability and a growing culture of violence and impunity in the Maldives, more famous for its upmarket tourist resorts and celebrity clientele.

A moderate Islamic scholar and MP of the government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Dr Afrasheem Ali, was stabbed to death outside his home on October 1, the country’s 10th murder this year.

Nasheed arrest follows the resignation yesterday of Head of the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) Shahinda Ismail, citing “major differences in opinion” with other PIC members.

A PIC report into police brutality during the February 8 crackdown contained contradictory findings, alleging that police action was justified by destruction of property. However Commissioner Shahinda disavowed the finding and stated that the police action was against the law as there was no evidence of illegal activity by demonstrators.

Shahinda’s husband, Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameen, also resigned, claiming he was going to study for his masters in the UK.


30 thoughts on “Former President Nasheed arrested in morning raid”

  1. You have outlined Hussain Shameen to be Shahind'a husband.

    Why not also state the fact the shahinda is the sister of Former President Mohamed's political adviser Ibrahim Ismael?

    Rule of law should be applied to everyone be it the president.
    There is a reason for the mass pressure he got after the arrest of the judge - Nasheed wanted to be above the law.

    We've passed accepting leaders as kings. His actions must have consequences.

    I call upon the judiciary, as a citizen who pays tax, to make sure the process is fair and just.

  2. @Naaiz. Rule of law should apply to everyone, and not just President Nasheed. So why is it that the corrupt judge is still free? Why are the police who brutally assaulted civilians getting promoted, flats and housing loans? Why are political figures like J.Nazim, Yameen, Maumoon etc not being investigated for their corrupt deals? This action by police has shown that they are not there to protect the country against crime, but rather to ensure that the current government stays in power no matter at what cost. It's really very funny the way so many people talk about how President Nasheed was being unconstitutional in detaining the judge, but every unconsitutional act by the current government, police, defence force, judges etc is totally ignored. If you want to talk about the rule of law, and fair and just process, well then first of all we need to the right institutional systems in place to ensure that. When a democratically elected government was overthrow to protect the interests of the maumoon family and when these very police and defence force are investigated by their own people and deemed to be innocent, it is totally unfair for you to talk about the rule of law to be applied to just one person alone. First of all to bring rule of law, we need a truly independent police, defence and judiciary. When these institutions are controlled by maumoon and his cronies, there will never be rule of law in this country.

  3. The country's elected president Nasheed is not new to police and their custodial conditions. He fought against the autocracy of Gayoom and became the country's first democratically elected president, and has generously experienced police treatment. He was overthrown unlawfully by the police and MNDF amid a mutiny in the police and MNDF and violence predominantly of these security forces on February 7.

    Today he was arrested unlawfully under an order of a Magistrate’s Court set up against the Constitution. It says there cannot be a Magistrate’s Court in an administrative area where there are four distinct superior courts: Criminal Court, Civil Court, High Court and the Supreme Court.

    Hulumale is an administrative division of Male’ the Capital island of the Maldives where all the four superior courts are present.

  4. @naaiz
    Wait a second, if you're going to ask questions on the illegality of Anni's actions, ask yourself this: who was acting above the law when he as a judge (the very same Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed) was able to stop the JSC investigation of himself for the all his wrongdoings eg letting confessed killers loose? The president has the constitutional right to arrest someone when he is left with no other choice.

    If his actions must have consequences, then should there also be consequences for the entire judiciary who are still sitting on the bench, most in violation of article 285 of the constitution as most have not fulfilled the educational requirements?

    When you have a corrupt judiciary loyal to a 30 year dictator, most with only primary school level education, do you honestly think that some of these judges, hand-picked from around the country, again in violation of the constitution, will be "fair and just" to the democratically elected president who was ousted from power from the same gang of cronies and is the biggest threat to them in a presidential election?

  5. Anni must be held responsible for his actions.

    But there are so many others who have done much worse. They have to be brought to justice as well.

    Why are you just picking on Anni? What about the murderers? What about the swindlers? The Athiests? The thief's?

  6. @Mariyam on Mon, 8th Oct 2012 12:23 PM

    Your claim that the Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Muhammad is corrupt is just a lie, and your claim has no basis other than your President Nasheed and his party's allegations against the Judge, and unless you consider Nasheed to be God, and his statements against anyone as revelation, you shouldn't say that.

    You talk about police who brutally assaulted civilians - You are exaggerating an incident, in which the police confronted an MDP army hiding among its ranks some 400 or more criminal gangsters whose violent nature was only too obvious. While there were only scattered incidents of inappropriate treatment by police officers, to draw a big picture of police brutality is very unfair, and you are doing this apparently because of your blind support of Nasheed. AND, the police officers are NOT getting flats and housing loans; I will not say that none of them got a promotion or not, because I do not know that. You, on the other hand, seem to be totally uninterested in whether what you say is true or not.

    You are again lying when you say J. Nazim and Yameen and Maumoon are being deliberately kept out of the reach of law. Don't you remember? Your tyrant Nasheed created a Commission consisting of unqualified people who had ensured their positions by years of writing hate-speech against Maumoon in local "folhi" magazines, to investigate alleged corruption by Maumoon. The Commission, consisting of Nasheed's close friends who had had a reputation for abusing Maumoon hoarded public money, and "investigated" Maumoon's alleged corruption for 3 years, and found nothing. Still, are you demanding that Maumoon be prosecuted! Why? Just because you and your god Nasheed hate him? (J. Nazim's case is being prosecuted by the Prosecutor General as of now, and do not lie, Mariyam!)

    Nasheed was arrested because he violated the Maldivian constitution and laws in kidnapping, or abducting, or sending into enforced disappearance (any description would fit) a man, a Judge of this country, who was, for all the law knew, absolutely innocent. Just because you and your god Nasheed has some claims (whether true or not) against someone does not mean you can kidnap or hijack or kick or kill that man. Nasheed was summoned by the Court, and when he deliberately refused to comply in a way that would ridicule the country's laws and courts, he was given a second chance, as the Police interpreted a Court Order to oblige them merely to "advise" Nasheed to attend the Court. Even then, Nasheed refused. Why? Nasheed's advisers wanted to force the police to arrest him to bring him to court. So what should this country do? Let Nasheed behave in any way he likes, let him ridicule our laws and courts??? If Nasheed can challenge court orders, why can't other criminals?

    This action by police has shown that they are not there to protect the country against crime, but rather to ensure that the current government stays in power no matter at what cost.

  7. Hulhumale Court did not issue a warrant of arrest against Nasheed. The Court issued an Order on the Police to produce Nasheed at Court for a hearing, after Nasheed challenged the Court and failed to attend two hearings consecutively. Nasheed's words, and his party's statements made it clear that Nasheed failed to attend court in an outrageous disregard of the rule of law, and in a calculated manner. The Court then issued an Order on the Police to produce Nasheed at the court hearing by detaining him, and the police implemented that Order. Not just Nasheed, thousands of Maldivian citizens had been taken into custody in a similar manner under Court Orders. What is different in this case is that there are some who want Nasheed to be free and unchallenged in his war against Islam, and some who want Nasheed to be above the law. BUT, Nasheed, like any of us, SHOULD be under the authority of the law.

  8. This is not at all about President Nasheed going against the Constitution, or not following Rule of Law.

    This is all about power play, votes and personal vendetta!

  9. OMG Ahmed Ali !
    I normally do not worry too much about "who" writes comments, but this time I truly wonder how much "benefit" you gain from trying to polish police image so vehemently. I couldnt help but smile at the mild way you have tried to portray police brutality and inhumane actions and wonder... cud u be one of them!

  10. Well, well well. At long last the long arm of the law has reached President Nasheed. At least he should be thankful that his home was not violated with a midnight knock by the military and dragged to some unknown destination in front of his terrified wife and small children.

    This is a terrible tragedy for this island. The country witnessed it’s so called first democratically President Transform into an authoritarian beast to anyone who was not enrolled in his party. He fathered Political mob violence and discord in the political landscape and in the last 3 years we have been witnessing more and more bloodshed, violence, murder and mayhem on the streets of Maldives.

    This being the case there must be a growing number of Maldivians who would be praying that justice be done and that this man answer not only the arrest of a sitting judge but also the violence, arson and questions regarding mob killings that we have witnessed in Maldives.

    This man along with an n ex Foreign minister and the dame in UK his agent has gone to extra-ordinary lengths on the world stage to sabotage the Maldivian economy. They realize that by invoking the bogeyman of religious extremists & terrorists on the Western stage they are playing the innate fear card in the Western psyche that could affect tourist arrivals and investments in the Maldives. They choose to ignore the number of children that might go hungry how many poor Maldivians could be affected.

    Thus it can be forgiven the thousands and thousands of Maldivians who would be happy this errant man is brought to justice. Many would be raising their hands high calling that justice catches up with him when he is 6 feet under for the crimes against this nation that he committed for which he cannot be made accountable in the cramped court in Hulumale. Not only He but his Cabal too.

    Whatever the strength of the feelings one has we wish for this man transparent fair justice with due process in which all his rights are guaranteed scrupulously so that this failed specimen of a wannabe President, lusting for the Presidential seat is a warning to all the Wannabe DESPOTS out there aspiring to be the President of Maldives that times have changed. That NO PRESIDENT can ever again take the law into his/her hands without being held accountable according to the laws of this land. Let this man’s despicable acts as President of this land and in these past 7 months of violence, arson and murder haunt him forever in this world and next, until he sincerely apologizes within his heart for the misery he has caused. Bottom line is that we want nothing but equitable fair justice for the man – something he denied this country. We seek neither revenge nor physical or mental harm per se but JUSTICE.

  11. There comes a time when a citizen has to stand up for his rights. There comes a time that this will touch things that citizens hold sacred. The undeniable fact is that Nasheed & his thugs had made plans to steal from the citizens of this land the most precious possession that they possessed. He could not have not have done that without laying siege on the judiciary.

    His attack on the system started with Judge Abdulla who was a mere pawn in the grand scheme of things. Even after his resignation it is clear that what was at issue was not so much the Presidency as the attack on the whole System of Life in Maldives. His hidden mission always was just that –an attack on the way of life of Maldivians. If it was only the Presidency he could have well waited for the 11/2 years until the next election.

    But they had seen that being the President alone in a Democratic system was not enough to bring in the changes of life they hoped for. They had the population, always so trusting and peace loving completely cowed as seen by the takeover of Parliament by hook or by crook. They had to destroy the security services, the judiciary and the Islamic scholars that so foolishly got him elected. The vilifications of all 3 are well advanced.

    In this context the drama of today is best understood probably as being scripted by Nasheed and his Western backed propaganda PR teams. So the drama rejecting the whole judicial system and the tour of the Southern islands probably filmed showing off the great public support. As it was the police did not take the bait and exhibited to the world a highly tolerant in the face of provocations police force. When the Courts finally put its foot down the police action was swift, clinical and overwhelming taking Nasheed & Co off guard & off balance. Did Nasheed’s strategy work? Time will tell.

  12. @ Ahmed Ali. Continue to live in denial if you must. Wonder where you really were on the 8th Feb when all the actions of the police were being aired live on Raaje TV. Maybe you were among the police officers beating people up or maybe you were among the heartless terrorists enjoying the show. Whereever you were, obviously you were so blinded by your hatred and dislike for MDP and Anni that you didn't see what really happened out there. And since you are so quick to defend the corrupt judge why don't you actually ask him to stand trial so that his innocence can be proven. Fact is he was so scared of being proven guilty that he did everything he could to ensure that no court had the guts to issue an order for his arrest, and that exactly is what happened, starting with the JSC which also didn't at the end have the guts to make him accountable. If he was so innocent why did Hassan Saeed write about him to Maumoon, and why did the JSC ask for him to be suspended? My dear, you really are living in denial. Feel sorry for you, but please accept that you can't change reality.

  13. Only an infant will think you can win this argument with accusations and counter accusations. For every insult against MDP, its supporters can raise a multitude of insults agains the opposition. For every insinuation against President Nasheed, others can raise similar or worse insinuations concerning Gayyoom, Jangiya, Yameen etc.

    The fact of the matter is, there is no credible institution of law in the Maldives. As long as that continues, you won't make any progress. You can charge Nasheed and put him in prison and ban him from taking part in future political activity.

    What is certain is that, further violence and confrontation is surely guaranteed and whoever comes to power will have to deal with that. Maldives will not and cannot return to pre-1998 days of authoritarian rule.

  14. This is more like a banana republic,with the police behaving like monkeys.

  15. I applaud the police for the proffessionalism with which they handled the arrest of President Nasheed, and the fact that no one was hurt during the process. Its a sign that Maldives police service is moving in the right direction, and they tried to act in a way that minimized/eliminated the possibility of anyone getting hurt.

    I believe President nasheed even though being summoned to trial for an arrest, should be treated with the utmost courtesy and goodwill, and the actions of Police personnel denote their intentions to behave as civilly as possible.

    Once again, applause.

  16. @ Independent, really? as long as no one died Police behaved professionally? Its definitely a sign that police hasn't moved even an inch to the right direction, when they can barge into a house without permission, break open doors including a toilet door while an elderly man was in the bathroom, verbally abuse those present, push a man that he falls onto to a glass table and break it. They are lucky no one was seriously injured. and this Maldivian police are a shame to the nation and the good name of the Police the world over. If they are so interested in taking sides politically it would be better to strip off their uniforms and openly join a political party then carry on with these kind of unprofessional ugly activities shaming their uniforms and their profession.

  17. The Ex-President of Maldives is a criminal? Then why was he arrested? what are the charges? What about that drug pusher on the streets of male and other scattered atolls?

    Is this how the ex-president should be treated when not in power? Then why the hell wasn't Gayoom arrested when not in power for crimes against the people of Maldives for dictatorial abuse of power for the 30 years that he screwed the country and economy? What about that?

  18. Most people deserve a government they get. The vast majority of the Maldivians aren't civilized enough to rule themselves with a democracy and I think Nasheed is way too ahead of time for a place like Maldives. Let the mullah's and oligarch's fuck these idiots for a while and maybe they'll learn to stand up for themselves and their rights after a few centuries.

  19. With all the attention on the detention of Pres.Nasheed, I guess the facts will be buried.

    The Prosecutor General publicly announced that he will prosecute those responsible for the "illegal" (The Supreme Court ruled as such),detention of Judge Abdulla, within days of his detention. It was while President Nasheed was still in Office that he ordered HRCM to investigate the matter.

    It is the PG (appointed by Nasheed with the consent of Majlis), who charged him, not the Government. This however does not mean that the Government will not welcome it, they probably will be mighty pleased.

    My personal opinion, Pres.Nasheed should have as he himself said, when the charged were first announced, defended himself in court.It seems his legal advise both during his Presidency and after are flawed.

  20. Why are they masked? Is this a terror squad? This is illegal as they look like a terrorist outfit

  21. Disgusting, democracy has been murdered and the world has turned a blind eye. Allpart of the coup master plan by traitor Waheed.

  22. Again Maumoon played a dirty game, the movement Dr. Waheed came from USA, Dictator Gayoom gave order to MNDF, and Police to take Nasheed in to custody. Gayooms way of dirty revenge.Gayoom must be tried in the Internationale Court of Justice.

  23. If there is NO Justice why we are living in Maldives.....? need a better democracy n judicial system..

  24. I wonder if Dr.Hassan Saeed could fulfill his dream of becoming the president of Maldives by arresting President Nasheed. He is struggling for it for a long time. Let's all vote for Dr.Hassan in the next presidential elections. If President Nasheed could clear this mess out, the first person who will get a heart attack will be Dr.Hassan if so good riddance. This mad man "Dr.Hassan will never learn" and will always want to be president hehehehe.

  25. The best person is Dr. Whaeed, but Gayooms dirty games catching up unwanted problems to Dr. Waheed. You all must put this guy Dictator Gayoom for Justice. What he has done in the pas 31 Years.
    I hope you peopl should realities whats going on Maldives.
    Nasheed is not an administrator. He cant run a Nation.

  26. Maldives is in capital four letter words.
    Judiciary system is in the hands of a gang of robbers.
    Parliament is a stable.
    Law and enforcement hiding behind masks!
    National Security sold for a dime.
    Executives planning for the forthcoming election and planning ways and means to fund it an win it at all cost.
    Mr. President is back on the island, but in a hangover after holidays!

  27. With the arrest of Mr. Nasheed the Maldives can no longer pretend to the rest of the world that it is not a dictatorship. My heart goes out to the people of the Maldives - I hope you will have democracy one day but now it looks unlikely that the current regime has any intention of having free and fair elections an/or allowing Mr. Nasheed to run - I genuinely fear for his safety.


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