SAHR expresses concern with arrest of former President Nasheed

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights activists and institutions, has expressed “shock and concern” over the arrest and mistreatment by police of former President Mohamed Nasheed this week.

In a statement issued yesterday (February 25), SAHR described police manhandling and dragging the opposition leader into court as “degrading and a ruthless misuse of police powers.”

“The former President has been arrested under counter terrorism laws on charges of anti-state activities for ordering the arrest of a senior judge Abdullah Mohamed in 2012 which led to street riots in the Maldives. Linking the ordering of the arrest of a senior judge with terrorism and anti state activities smacks of political vendetta and a blatant misuse of counter terrorism laws,” reads the statement.

The organisation called on the Maldivian government to “ensure that political considerations does not vitiate the trial and the former President is tried with adherence to fair trial standards guaranteed under international human rights standards.”

The Sri Lankan government meanwhile joined a growing international chorus of concern yesterday with a statement expressing concern about the recent developments in the Maldives.

“It is hoped that all stakeholders in Maldives will resolve their differences in a peaceful manner, within the legal provisions in Maldives,” reads the brief statement by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry.

On Tuesday (February 24), Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon hit back at statements issued by the Commonwealth, Canada, UN, and the EU, expressing disappointment over “bias” and factual inaccuracies.

“The Government of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will not take instructions from a foreign government on any issue in governing the country,” she said.

Meanwhile, Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard also voiced concern over Nasheed’s arrest and urged the government to “ensure Nasheed his rights, uphold judicial principles and secure a just and transparent trial.”

Lidegaard said he had asked the EU nations to discuss the situation in the Maldives.