Home Minister Umar Naseer has appealed a Criminal Court arrest warrant at the High Court today.
The arrest warrant issued on Thursday orders the Maldives Police Services to arrest Naseer and present him at the Criminal Court at 11:00am on Tuesday (June 17), a High Court official said.
The Home Minister was abroad during all three hearings.
Home Ministry’s Media Coordinator Thazmeel Abdul Samad told Minivan News on Saturday that Naseer is not a fugitive from justice and will attend hearings willingly once he returns from the Netherlands on June 16.
The Maldives Police Services has acted differently in different arrest warrant cases.
The police arrested former President Mohamed Nasheed in 2012, and former MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamid Abdul Ghafoor on the Criminal Court’s orders in 2013. But when the court ordered MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam be arrested in March, the police asked him to present himself at the police headquarters on the day in question and escorted him from the police station to the court.
The police have refused to comment on the arrest warrant.
Naseer was appointed as Home Minister on a cabinet slot allocated for the Jumhooree Party (JP) as part of the now defunct coalition agreement signed with the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).
Two of the four ministers appointed on JP slots have switched to the PPM and its ally Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) following the dissolution of the coalition.
Naseer joined the JP in 2013 after losing the PPM’s presidential primary to incumbent President Abdulla Yameen.
The PPM expelled Naseer from the party after he alleged the primaries were rigged and accused Yameen of illicit connections with gangs and the illegal drug trade and vowed to bring a “white revolution” within the party.
Speaking to Minivan News in January Naseer said his earlier comments were “political rhetoric.”
In March, Naseer announced he will run for the presidency in 2023 but pledged to back Yameen for re-election in 2018.
“I am not a political threat to President Yameen. I am ready to work to help President Yameen get re-elected to presidency in 2018. What I may have said before, and the competition that existed between us before is a completely different matter. That has come to an end,” he said in an interview on state broadcaster Television Maldives’ Friday variety show ‘Heyyambo.’
Naseer is accused of calling for 2,000 volunteers on January 23, 2012 to storm the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters with 50 ladders during the two weeks of protests sparked by the military’s controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.
On the night in question, Umar told anti-government demonstrators in front of the Maldives Monetary Authority building that they should use tactics to tire out the soldiers on duty before climbing into the military barracks, at which point “the people inside will be with us.”
“From today onward, we will turn this protest into one that achieves results,” Naseer had said.
“We know how people overthrow governments. Everything needed to topple the government of this country is now complete.”
After he was questioned by the police in September 2012, Naseer told the press that “there will be no evidence” to prove he committed a criminal offence.
“In my statement I did not mention where to place the ladders or where to climb in using the ladders,” Naseer had said.
If convicted, Naseer faces banishment, imprisonment or house arrest not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding MVR150 (US$ 10) under Article 88(a) of the penal code.