Court bans former President Nasheed from travelling abroad

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has said that the travel ban imposed against him will hinder his political campaign and party work.

Speaking to the Times of India, Nasheed stated that despite ending his 11-day stay at the Indian High Commission in Male’ last month, he was still not entirely free, adding that he “fears” an arrest warrant will be issued against him “any day”.

The former President sought refuge inside the High Commission building on February 13 after Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court ordered police to produce Nasheed at his trial hearing scheduled for later that day.

Nasheed has maintained that the charges against him – of detaining the Chief Criminal Court Judge during his final days in office – are a politically-motivated effort to prevent him contesting the 2013 elections.

Nasheed spent 11 days inside the commission building before making an unannounced exit on February 23, after a “deal” had allegedly been brokered between both Indian and Maldivian governments.

Despite Nasheed’s exit from the commission, the former President has now stated that the travel ban imposed by Hulhumale’ court – prohibiting him from leaving Male’ – shows the “politically motivated nature of the court”.

“I believe the Indian government is worried that if there isn’t a free, fair and inclusive election, there will be instability in the Maldives.

“However, if I am not allowed to travel outside Male and campaign, it means that there is no firmness to the understanding brokered by India. I fear the court might even issue a warrant against me any day,” Nasheed was quoted as saying in Times of India.

The former President claimed that there had been an understanding – rather than a deal – between the two governments that he would be able to conduct a peaceful political campaign and would participate in an inclusive election.

“The charges would not be dropped against me, but even if I became the president after the elections, the law would take its course. On my part I would create space for the Indian and Maldivian governments to settle the issue,” Nasheed said.

Despite Nasheed’s claims, an official from the Judiciary Media Unit told local media last month that the court had denied Nasheed’s request as he had not cooperated with the court on previous instances.

Responding to a question about President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik’s stance on the matter, Nasheed told Times of India that the President has yet to say anything.

“As president, he [President Waheed] should say clearly that the case against me is deferred. This deliberately created situation of suspended animation is going to harm our campaign,” Nasheed said.

President’s Office Spokespeople Masood Imad and Ahmed ‘Topy’ Thaufeeq were not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

An official from the Judiciary Media Unit told Minivan News that he would attempt to find out more information regarding the length of Nasheed’s travel ban, however he was not responding to follow-up calls at time of press.

The former President was invited to be the guest of honour at the opening of the Cultural Season 2013 in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, by Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Nasheed was also due to meet Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, and was to visit Denmark on the invitation of the Danish government.