Nasheed’s family raises fear of an assassination plot by security forces

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s family has raised concerns over a possible plot within the security forces to assassinate the imprisoned opposition leader.

Speaking to the press today, former First Lady Laila Ali said a very close friend whom she trusts and “could not help but believe” shared information that Nasheed would either be hanged with a note saying he could not remain in jail for 13 years or “disappeared” like Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

As the source was certain of the authenticity of the plans and had learned of it from two Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers, Laila said the information was “too serious to ignore.”

Nasheed was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison last Friday. Home Minister Umar Naseer has since said the former president would be kept at the Dhoonidhoo detention centre until a “prison apartment” could be built in Maafushi jail.

“I’ve never feared he might be killed while in jail. It is deeply saddening [that he is jail]. But I’ve never thought he might not come out [alive] when he completes his sentence,” she said.

Nasheed’s brother Ibrahim Nashid said he was certain no inmate would harm the former president and said the family had been reasonably certain Nasheed would return alive when he had been jailed under former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

“I was previously certain it would never go that far. But now anything can happen.”

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokersperson Imthiyaz Fahmy told the press yesterday the party has also received information of the alleged assassination plans.

Fahmy referred to rumours of plans to kidnap Nasheed from Dhoonidhoo Island and expressed concern at lax security arrangements at the police detention centre.

“There is only one security personnel where he is kept at Dhoonidhoo. We don’t believe that there will be any security for him. The party believes there is room to organise an attack on him,” he said.

Laila meanwhile said today that she has written to President Abdulla Yameen and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as well as the home minister and police commissioner seeking assurances of Nasheed’s safety.

“In my letter, I expressed my grave concern and told them my husband is in your care. You must give me assurance, in writing or by your actions, that he would not come under any physical or psychological harm.”

The former first lady said she is awaiting a reply, but would make her letters public if she did not receive assurances from the government.

Laila said that she last talked to Nasheed on Tuesday night and shared her concerns. Nasheed told her that police officers had said they would increase security and patrol the island.

Laila noted that Nasheed has also been deprived of legally mandated MNDF protection since his arrest.

Laila said she now feared for his life, adding that she constantly heard of possible attempts to kill Nasheed since the “coup” in February 2012.

Meanwhile, at a press conference today, Police Superintendent Hamdhoon Rasheed dismissed the MDP’s allegations of plans to assassinate Nasheed as false.

Nasheed was safe and under police protection at the detention centre, he said.

“Environment of violence”

British MP for Salisbury John Glen also raised concern over Nasheed’s safety in Westminster today, questioning Leader of the House of Commons William Hague over possible sanctions against the Maldives.

“Although it is believed that he is safe in Dhoonidhoo, it is expected that when he is moved to Maafushi island, there will be real concerns for his safety. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the Foreign Office is doing all it can to highlight the concerns of Nasheed’s supporters, and can a statement be made to the House about sanctions and whether they should be taken against this much-misunderstood set of islands?” the MP asked.

In reply, Hague said he was deeply concerned over Nasheed’s sentencing and said the UK continues to monitor the case closely.

“We are pressing the Government in the Maldives to give international observers access to any appeal hearing and to allow them to visit the former President in prison,” he said.

Urging calm in the Maldives Hague said, “We have called on the Maldives to follow due legal process. The Foreign Office Ministers were the first to make a strong statement, making it clear that we are monitoring the case closely.”

In a statement on March 16, human rights group Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) also expressed concern over the “rising environment of violence” and threats to Nasheed and other political figures.

The NGO said it has received information of plans to kill Nasheed in Maafushi after instigating a prison riot, referring to previous outbreaks of violence at the jail, including the shooting of inmates in September 2003 and the death of an inmate last year after a fatal stabbing.

“An investigation is still pending and police are yet to inform the public about the progress of the investigation,” MDN said in reference to the latter incident.

Moreover, the NGO said it has also received reports suggesting “violent groups have been hired to harm and kidnap” opposition MPs.

“We believe that the law and order situation has become extremely fragile in the Maldives, and implore the international community to have a presence in the Maldives to prevent further disorder and to ensure a quick and smooth transition to peace and harmony,” MDN said.

MDN called upon international anti-torture organisations to send missions to the Maldives “where they can monitor the safety of former President Mohamed Nasheed.”


Related to this story

Home minister assures safety and welfare of former President Nasheed in custody

Former President Nasheed found guilty of terrorism, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Government will ensure Nasheed’s right to appeal conviction, says spokesperson

Respect Criminal Court verdict, says President Yameen


9 thoughts on “Nasheed’s family raises fear of an assassination plot by security forces”

  1. Dear mrs. Laila Ali my heart is with you, with your husband and your family.
    Wish you all the strength you need.
    There must be a way to stop this inhumane behaviour.

    Hudhu Fathmat

  2. Everytime we have expected the worst, this regime has not failed us. Everytime we think they won't sink lower, they have unfailingly done so.
    Do we spot a pattern here? What till it take for us to realize the monsters we have unleashed with our vote? Call it drama queenery, but sadly this is what is happening in the context of our "much misunderstood" islands - violence and more violence, most of it state sponsored and carried out by so called covert methods.
    Not recognizing this sad reality is (possibly understandable) dangerous denial.

  3. Assassination unlikely.. Though he was imprisoned unjustly, this is more likely a ploy to pressurize the govt to release him.

  4. As a citizen of Maldives, I am extremely concerned over the deteriorating political and social environment. Maldives is sliding back into a worse form of authoritarian rule than former President Gayoom's. And the process is gaining speed.
    I am concerned about Nasheed's detention and any possible harm to him, there is no doubt he is a popular leader and remains popular.
    In the same note, I would like to urge the international community to have similar concerns over other democratically elected presidents (like Dr. Mursi,Egypt) who have had similar fates under brutal regimes.

  5. With the history of assassination plots misfired against President Nasheed, a new plot cannot be ruled out on pretext of a likely ploy to pressurize the government to release him! No!
    We all know who is ruling this country now!
    And we all know his character and his ways!
    We have seen Late Dr. Afraasheem being slained, nothing happening other than been compared to that of assassinating President JFK!
    This is alarming!

  6. As far as the regime is concerned they have neutralised their most vocal critic. Barring a miracle Nasheed's gone from the political scene for good.

    The regime is on a multi-pronged approach to improve its image. Yameen heads off to Saudi, one of very few countries that will receive him right now. Not surprising since the likes of Idi Ameen also took refuge in Saudi Arabia...

    Fat boy Adheeb went off to Dubai to scavenge more dollars to line up his belly, er in the name of building a new port for Male.

    Toxic stuff. No sane creditor should touch the Maldivian regime with a barge pole.

  7. This is a similar tactic that was played by Nasheed on 8th Feb. 2012.

    On that day, Nasheed and Rajje TV had spread the false information to create fear among people saying hundreds of people were killed and every one to come out and defend Nasheed.

    It was telecasted live on Raaje TV . Why did they do it ? Simple, juts to create a fear among people and then charge people to bring violence .

    Result of that false news, we seen public building under fire and unimaginable damages were done to the nation.

  8. This isn't the light,simple rumors that may heat fume emotional blackmailing leading to weaken the "ADHEEB YAAMEEN" iron fist of smash & destroy down the hopes of common Malivians but truly a tragic & grave life-threatening frame work carried out by most notorious criminal minded & mafia or more to mention the ISIS type behavior & characters of Maldives & foreign nations.May God help finding a way that Nasheed maybe safe from those sadistic maniacs

  9. @Hero: You police thugs indeed planned to kill Nasheed on that day, despite the fact that your bosses promised not to.

    Here's him escaping your murderous, drug-addled mob.

    Interrogation of POWs, mostly drug-overdosed SO thugs we arrested also corroborated this evidence.

    They're a funny bunch - they like to show how tough they are, but the moment advanced interrogation starts, they confess to everything because they fear pain.

    Your kind are truly craven cowards.


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