President Abdulla Yameen authorised former President Mohamed Nasheed’s transfer to house arrest today, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has told Minivan News.
President Yameen made the decision at a meeting at 1:00pm this afternoon and sought advice from the attorney general, Adeeb said.
Home minister Umar Naseer was reluctant to approve the transfer, Adeeb added, but the president made the decision.
A family member told Minivan News that Nasheed was brought home around 4:00pm ahead of an appointment for an MRI scan on Thursday.
The opposition leader was brought to Malé around 8:30am this morning to consult a nerve specialist at the ADK private hospital. Nasheed was briefly detained at a custodial centre in the capital before being taken to his wife’s residence Yaagoothuge.
An official from the Maldives Corrections Service (MCS) told local media that Nasheed was transferred to house arrest for three days based on doctor’s advice.
The medical tests recommended by the doctor will take three days, the official said, after which Nasheed will be taken back to the Maafushi prison.
Adeeb said the duration of Nasheed’s house arrest will depend on the doctor’s advice.
The tourism minister is taking over as acting home minister tonight with Naseer due to depart for Singapore.
Nasheed’s lawyers have previously said he was being denied access to specialist medical attention despite recommendations from doctors.
The government had refused to authorise tests after doctors at the Maafushi Jail health centre and at a Malé military clinic recommended in May that he get an MRI scan, the lawyers said.
Nasheed was found guilty of terrorism in March over the military’s detention of a judge during his tenure and sentenced to 13 years in jail.
The 19-day terrorism trial was widely criticised over its apparent lack of due process and international pressure on the government to release the opposition leader has been growing in recent weeks.
MCS media official Moosa Rameez told Minivan News earlier today that the prison authorities will arrange the MRI scan.
Senior members of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) along with the former president’s family members and supporters gathered outside the Malé jail this afternoon when Nasheed was brought to the custodial centre from the hospital.
Following his transfer to house arrest, several MDP MPs and politicians have started posting selfies with the former president on Twitter.
Supporters have also taken to social media to express joy over the former president’s reprieve from custody. Nasheed has been held in detention since his arrest on February 22, a day before the surprise terrorism trial.
Alhamdlillah. Hope and pray that President Nasheed is home for good.
— Shahindha Ismail (@HindhaIsmail) June 21, 2015
With my president today. He is strong as always. pic.twitter.com/KzQOVSX11x
— Ali Nizar (@DhekunuNizar) June 21, 2015
— Nauty (@nautymatox) June 21, 2015
Selfie with Raees @MohamedNasheed