UN rights team calls on ex president

A team from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) met on Tuesday with former president Mohamed Nasheed at his residence, where he remains under house arrest over a terrorism conviction.

Nasheed’s wife Laila Ali met with UN human rights commissioner on human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in Geneva on July 8. The commissioner has previously said the rushed trial appeared to contravene the Maldives’ constitution and international treaties it was signatory to.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail over the arrest of a judge during his tenure. He was transferred to house arrest in a move widely perceived as a deal made with the government for opposition backing on a constitutional amendment that will allow President Abdulla Yameen to replace his deputy.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is now in talks with the government. An MDP representative has suggested Nasheed may be freed by July 26.

Nasheed has filed a petition with the UN working group on arbitrary detention asking for a judgment ruling his imprisonment as illegal and arbitrary. A decision is expected in September or October.

The OHCHR team has also met with the Maldivian foreign secretary Ali Naseer on July 13.

Diplomatic pressure has been mounting on President Yameen’s administration to release Nasheed and other political prisoners.