Cabinet reassesses Maldives’ membership in Commonwealth as UK welcomes talks

The cabinet has decided to reassess the Maldives’ membership in the Commonwealth following repeated threats to leave the inter-governmental organisation.

President’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told the press today that government “needs to explain to the people how much the country benefits from being part of the Commonwealth.”

“That is what the government is going to reassess,” he said, adding that the government will consider the assistance and benefits the country has received since joining in 1981 as well as the Maldives’ present role in the organisation.

Ministers recommended the reassessment to President Abdulla Yameen at today’s cabinet meeting, he said.

Muaz, however, stressed that the cabinet has not decided to leave the Commonwealth.

Earlier this month, foreign minister Dunya Maumoon said the Maldives “will seriously consider its membership at the Commonwealth” if it is placed on the agenda of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) for a second time in four years.

Some Commonwealth members had pushed for the CMAG to assess alleged violations of the Commonwealth’s principles by the Maldives over the widely criticised imprisonment of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

However, the Maldives was not placed on the CMAG agenda despite “efforts made by some of the most powerful countries in the Commonwealth to place the Maldives on the group’s agenda and harm the nation,” the foreign ministry said on July 5.

But former foreign minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed said that the CMAG only granted the Maldives further time to “sort out [the] mess Maldives is in.”

In mid-June, Canada had called on CMAG to “urgently put the deteriorating situation in the Maldives on its formal agenda.” The Commonwealth’s democracy and human rights arm can recommend measures for collective action to restore democracy and constitutional rule.

Diplomatic pressure has been mounting on President Abdulla Yameen to release Nasheed and other jailed politicians, including two former defence ministers and a ruling party MP.

UK “closely involved”

Meanwhile, in response to a question posed by Karen Lumley, conservative MP for Redditch, at the House of Commons on Tuesday, minister of state at the foreign and Commonwealth office Hugo Swire said the British government remains “deeply concerned by the situation in the Maldives.”

He noted that Prime Minister David Cameron had called for Nasheed’s release from custody as well as all-party talks to resolve the six-month long political crisis.

Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is currently engaged in talks with the government. At the third meeting of the talks this week, MDP representative Ibrahim Mohamed Solih suggested that the opposition leader could be freed on July 26, when the Maldives marks 50 years of independence from the British.

Nasheed was transferred to house arrest in late June after the opposition backed a constitutional amendment that will allow President Abdulla Yameen to replace his deputy.

Swire meanwhile welcomed Nasheed’s transfer to house arrest and the ongoing political dialogue. “We hope the talks will provide the basis for progress on the numerous concerns within the Maldives,” he said.

Asked if he believed the Commonwealth should take action against the Maldives, Swire noted that the UK is not a member of CMAG.

“I have discussed these matters with the Commonwealth Secretary General,” he said.

“I understand that there has been a telephone conversation between CMAG members and that they keep the situation under continuous review.”

John Glen, conservative MP for Salisbury, urged the UK government to “resist complacency on the Maldives,” suggesting that “the current regime seems also to be a recruiting sergeant for ISIL in the Maldives.”

“There will come a time when the government will need to stand clearly on the right side of the argument and intervene more fully to secure justice in that country,” he advised.

In response, Swire said he has recently discussed the Maldives with the Indian foreign secretary and the US assistant secretary of state.

“Both my right honourable friend the Prime Minister and I have met Mr Nasheed’s wife, and Amal Clooney and other members of Mr Nasheed’s legal team, to discuss the situation. We are closely involved,” he said.

Asked about possible sanctions on the Maldives in late June, Swire had said that the UK government has not “discussed the possibility of sanctions with international partners, though we are keeping all options under review.”


Foreign minister slams UK, US, EU, Canada over tweets

Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon has expressed concern over tweets by the British High Commissioner, the European Union Ambassador and the Canadian and US missions to the Maldives regarding fresh terrorism charges against three opposition leaders.

The Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Jumhooree Party’s deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim and its council member Sobah Rasheed are accused of inciting violence at a historic antigovernment protest on May 1 and charged with terrorism.

The UK’s new high commissioner to the Maldives, James Dauris, in a tweet on Tuesday expressed hope that judges would follow international standards and said: “Will be watching closely.”

The Canadian high commission said it was watching closely with concern. The US Embassy, meanwhile, suggested the government must take steps to restore confidence in democracy and the rule of law.

In response, Dunya tweeted today from the foreign ministry’s official twitter account saying: “I am concerned by the tweets of some countries.”

The government will not intervene in the judicial process, she said. However, she said justice will be served according to the Maldivian constitution and said “criminal activities and incitement to violence will not be condoned.”

Imran denied charges at a first hearing on Tuesday night. He was arrested from his home on Monday night and is to be kept in police custody until the trial concludes.

Ameen and Sobah’s hearings were cancelled last night. The two are out of the country.

If convicted, the three face between 10 and 15 years in jail.

Nearly 20,000 people took to the streets on May 1, calling for the release of imprisoned former president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim, whose arrests sparked the ongoing political crisis.

The same three judges who sentenced Nasheed and Nazim are now overseeing Imran’s terrorism trial.

Foreign governments and international bodies, including the UN and Amnesty International, have expressed concern over the apparent lack of due process in Nasheed and Nazim’s trials. The parliament of the European Union has called for Nasheed’s immediate release.

The government, however, insists Nasheed and Nazim were granted fair trials, and condemned foreign governments for criticism of the judiciary.

The new terrorism charges follow President Abdulla Yameen’s invitation for separate talks with the three allied opposition parties, prompting concern over the government’s sincerity.

The president, however, blames lack of progress in talks on the “insincerity” of the oppoisition parties.

The MDP chairperson Ali Waheed was also arrested along with Ameen and Imran, but the PG office has reportedly not made a decision on prosecuting the former MP.

This article was amended on June 4 to include a tweet by the European Union Ambassador to the Maldives


UK MP urges re-establishment of Maldives rule of law in early day motion

Conservative Party MP Fiona Bruce has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons this week urging the United Kingdom to take “all reasonable steps to encourage the re-establishment of democracy and rule of law throughout the Maldives.”

The motion – which has so far gained just three signatures – expressed alarm at the series of events that have led to former President Mohamed Nasheed’s removal from office, arrest, conviction on terrorism charges and sentencing to 13 years in jail.

It noted several irregularities in Nasheed’s trial, including the Criminal Court’s decision to deny legal representation at a number of hearings and to reject defence witnesses before they were heard.

Bruce, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission, also highlighted that many of Nasheed’s supporters have been arrested and the live broadcast feed from the People’s Majlis chambers has been cut “so the public have very little knowledge of what is happening within the Parliament.”

She said that any allegations against Nasheed must be considered openly, and with due respect for justice and legal processes.

Early day motions are tabled by MPs to publicise a particular event or cause, and to gather support among MPs for that event or cause.

Nasheed’s terrorism trial regarding the military’s abduction of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed has drawn international concern. The UK, United States, and the European Union expressed concern over the lack of due process while Canada said it was “appalled by the guilty verdict”.

Bruce has previously called for sanctions against the Maldives, stating Britain and the international community could not afford to remain silent in the face of “such gross injustice.”

“Targeted sanctions against the international assets of senior members of the regime, as well as a boycott of tourist resorts owned by senior members of the regime of their associates, should be seriously considered. The Commonwealth should consider suspending the Maldives,” she said.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) hit back at Fiona’s comments claiming Nasheed had been “fully accorded his rights in line with the Constitution and the laws of Maldives.”

The PPM recommended Bruce do a “basic fact-check” and said the government cannot drop the charges against Nasheed, or anyone else.

President Abdulla Yameen has previously described advocating for charges to be dropped against Nasheed as judicial interference, and said foreigners must not meddle in Maldives’ domestic affairs.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul said the trial made a “mockery” of the Maldives Constitution and said: “The speed of proceedings combined with the lack of fairness in the procedures lead me to believe the outcome of the trial may have been pre-determined.”

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the trial was “hasty and apparently unfair” and urged Nasheed be given adequate time to prepare and present his defence during the appeal process.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has since invited the United Nations Secretary General, the Commonwealth, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the EU to send experts to observe Nasheed’s appeal process.

Nasheed’s legal team has suggested that tomorrow’s deadline for an appeal cannot be met, arguing that the court has not supplied the necessary documents.


UK MP Bruce condemns Nasheed’s terrorism sentence, reiterates calls for international sanctions

UK Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission has called the Criminal Court’s decision to jail former President Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges a “blatant and grotesque injustice.”

Condemning the 13 year jail term, Chairman of the commission, MP Fiona Bruce reiterated calls on the international community to consider a drastic range of sanctions against President Abdulla Yameen’s regime.

These include targeted financial sanctions, freezing overseas assets, imposing travel bans, arms embargos, suspension from the Commonwealth and tourism boycotts.

“We need to use every means to put pressure on the Maldivian regime to permit an appeal by Mr Nasheed, release him, drop the charges, begin a political dialogue, and move towards the restoration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law,” she said.

Bruce also expressed concern over the Criminal Court denying Nasheed legal representation, right to appeal and bail. The court had refused to hear evidence from his defence witnesses, she noted.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) last week condemned Bruce’s earlier calls for sanctions.

Referring to Bruce calling Nasheed “a champion of non-violent, peaceful democracy,” the PPM claimed the former president had “resorted to violent, unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic methods during his regime from 2008 to 2012, including the unlawful ‘abduction and isolation’ of the Criminal Court Chief Judge in 2012.”

“We are further baffled by her baseless allegation that Nasheed was ‘physically mistreated while in custody,’” the statement read.

“We would like to emphasise that he has been fully accorded his rights in line with the constitution and the laws of the Maldives.

The statement added that Nasheed had succeeded former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – the PPM’s leader – “who had ushered in modern liberal democracy in the Maldives, in addition to transforming the country from one of the poorest five countries in the world to a flourishing economy with the highest per capita income in the whole of South Asia.”


Respect Criminal Court verdict, says President Yameen

President Abdulla Yameen has called on all parties to respect the Criminal Court’s verdict against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

In a statement released by the President’s Office last night, President Yameen noted that the opposition leader has “a constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal” to challenge his conviction on terrorism charges at the High Court.

“The government calls on its international partners to engage constructively, based on mutual respect and dialogue in consolidating and strengthening democratic values and institutions in the country,” reads the brief statement.

“The government remains steadfast in ensuring the separation of powers as stipulated under the Maldivian constitution and upholding the rule of law in the country.”

In the wake of the Criminal Court sentencing the opposition leader to 13 years in jail on Friday night (March 13), the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union expressed concern with the lack of due process, while Amnesty International said Nasheed’s conviction “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

Domestically, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives said the former president was denied fundamental rights that guarantee a fair trial in line with the Maldives’ obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Moreover, human rights NGO Maldivian Democracy Network urged the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges to intervene in order to prevent a “slide back to autocracy,” whilst Transparency Maldives expressed “grave concern” and stressed that Nasheed was denied legal representation, the right to appeal, and sufficient time to mount a defence.

However, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told Minivan News yesterday that he believed the Criminal Court “would have afforded due process in the conduct of Nasheed’s trial.”

“If you study this case, from the beginning to the end, it is clear the charges are not politically motivated,” Muaz insisted.

President Yameen as head of state could not “interfere in judicial proceedings and is not to blame for court proceedings,” he said.


Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma released a statement yesterday noting that the intergovernmental organisation would continue to closely follow the judicial process after the verdict.

The Commonwealth urged restraint and advised peaceful resolution of “differences of view” through dialogue.

“The Foreign Minister of Maldives, Hon Dunya Maumoon, has made recent public comments welcoming constructive and close dialogue with international organisations,” the statement read.

The Commonwealth assured its commitment to working with the Maldives to address issues of concern.

“All societies should have the space and opportunity for dialogue in order to ensure that universally shared values are advanced, and to create a stable and harmonious future,” the statement continued.

“All societies should also have national institutions that enjoy the confidence, trust and respect of the people they serve. The Commonwealth is committed to offering practical support in a collaborative partnership to achieve these goals in an enduring way.”

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has meanwhile called on the UN to hold an emergency session on the situation in the Maldives.

The ACHR “urged the members of the UN Security Council to take necessary measures to seize assets and freeze accounts of President of Maldives Mr Abdulla Yameen, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and the three judges overseeing Nasheed’s trial i.e. Abdulla Didi, Abdul Bari Yoousuf and Sujau Usman and other key officials of the regime, impose travel restrictions and trade embargo, and withhold financial assistance and technical cooperation to the Maldives until the release of Nasheed.”

“The trial is a travesty of justice – Judge [Abdulla Mohamed] who claims himself to have been illegally detained for which former President Nasheed was charged under terrorism charges still heads the Criminal Court trying Nasheed and effectively allowed his deputy, Judge Abdulla Didi, to convict Nasheed in a kangaroo trial. If the United Nations and international community fail to intervene now, democracy may never return to the Maldives,” said ACHR Director Suhas Chakma.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) also condemned the verdict and noted that Nasheed was “never investigated for the fresh charges of terrorism before trial.”

“The trial of Nasheed was riddled with numerous violations of basic human rights and fair trial standards, and his conviction must be condemned. This is a clear case of political persecution and therefore the verdict is not surprising, considering the manner in which the court has conducted the trial,” said Forum-Asia Executive Director Evelyn Balais-Serrano.

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Former President Nasheed appears in court with arm in makeshift sling



US, EU, and UK concerned over lack of due process in Nasheed trial

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union have expressed concern with the lack of due process in the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who was convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to 13 years in prison last night.

“Despite the calls from the international community for due process to be followed, we are concerned that the former President’s trial has not been conducted in a transparent and impartial manner or in accordance with due legal process,” said UK Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire in a statement.

He added that the UK would be watching the appeal process closely.

“I recognise that this outcome will be deeply worrying for many in the Maldives. I therefore urge calm across the Maldives and encourage all political parties to act with moderation, restraint and within the bounds of the law,” Swire urged.

“We have been consulting closely on our concerns with Commonwealth partners, and we will continue to do so over the coming days.”

The US meanwhile expressed concern with “the apparent lack of appropriate criminal procedures during the trial”.

“We are particularly troubled by reports that the trial was conducted in a manner contrary to Maldivian law and Maldives’ international obligations to provide the minimum fair trial guarantees and other protections under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” reads a statement by the US embassy in Colombo.

“This includes the denial of legal representation to former President Nasheed during the first hearing and concerns regarding the lack of impartiality and independence of the judges.

“We call on the government of Maldives to take steps to restore confidence in its commitment to democracy and the rule of law, including judicial independence, and to ensure fundamental rights are respected including the freedom of speech and of the press as well as the right to peaceful assembly and peaceful protest.  We urge the government to ensure former President Nasheed’s safety and well being in custody, and we hope all Maldivians will express their views peacefully.”

The EU said Nasheed’s conviction “raises very serious questions about due process of law and risks undermining people’s trust in the independence of the judiciary.”

The EU statement also noted that due legal process was obligatory for the Maldives under the ICCPR.

“Should the conviction be appealed, the appeal process must be fair and transparent with former President Nasheed being accorded all his rights, including adequate access to his lawyers,” the EU stated.

“The European Union calls on all sides in the Maldives to act responsibly and uphold constitutional freedoms.”

Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin meanwhile tweeted saying India was “deeply concerned at developments in the Maldives, monitoring situation closely.”

“Travesty of justice”

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon has previously condemned international statements of concern, stating: “Those who prefer to issue public statements about an on-going legal case, or on a domestic political situation, are advised to do a basic fact-check, before bandwagoning on to accusations made by a political party.”

Dunya asserted in a statement that President Abdulla Yameen’s administration “will not take instructions from a foreign government on any issue in governing the country.”

Moreover, President Yameen has declared that foreigners would not be allowed to meddle in domestic affairs and the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has condemned the international community’s “hypocrisy and double standards” with regard to Nasheed’s trial.

Meanwhile, in a statement today, Amnesty International said Nasheed’s sentencing “after a deeply flawed and politically motivated trial is a travesty of justice.”

“Amnesty International condemns the conviction of Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in jail by judges who were state witnesses during an earlier investigation of this case. This trial has been flawed from start to finish, and the conviction is unsound,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“Rather than responding to international calls to strengthen the impartiality of the judiciary the government of the Maldives has proceeded with this sham trial for political reasons”.

Amnesty noted that the opposition leader was denied legal representation at the first hearing of the trial and that at latter hearings his lawyers were not given sufficient time to prepare his defence.

Nasheed’s conviction last night received widespread coverage in international media and was greeted with outrage by several prominent figures who have called for his release.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, called the outcome of the trial “beyond a joke” and declared he would not visit the Maldives until the opposition leader was released.


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

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UK Conservative Party’s human rights body calls for sanctions on Maldives

The UK Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission has called a rushed terrorism trial against former President Mohamed Nasheed a “grotesque travesty of justice,” and urged the international community to consider sanctions against senior government officials.

The opposition leader is accused of ordering the “abduction” of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in 2012. If convicted under the 1990 anti-terrorism laws, he faces a jail term or banishment between ten and 15 years.

The chair of the Conservative Party’s human rights body, MP Fiona Bruce, said Britain and the international community could not afford to remain silent in the face of “such gross injustice.”

“Targeted sanctions against the international assets of senior members of the regime, as well as a boycott of tourist resorts owned by senior members of the regime or their associates, should be seriously considered,” she said in a statement today.

“The Commonwealth should consider suspending the Maldives. We must all do everything we can to ensure that Mohamed Nasheed is freed, democracy is restored and justice is done.”

The Conservative Party has long been an ally of Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), assisting with party building and campaigning.

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has meanwhile slammed the international community for its alleged “double standards and hypocrisy” over Nasheed’s trial.


Bruce expressed concern over the Criminal Court denying Nasheed legal representation at a first hearing, and the police’s manhandling of the former president when he was brought to court on February 23.

Nasheed appeared in court with his arm in a makeshift sling and requested immediate medical attention and legal counsel.

“I am deeply concerned that he has been physically mistreated while in custody. The images of him being dragged along the ground into court were truly shocking,” she said.

“Mohamed Nasheed is a champion of non-violent, peaceful democracy. Charging him with terrorism is in itself absurd, and blatantly politically-motivated,” she added.

She went on to question the impartiality of the Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and the three judges—Abdulla Didi, Abdul Bari Yoousuf and Sujau Usman—who are overseeing Nasheed’s trial.

“In Mr Nasheed’s trial the prosecutor-general is a former associate of Judge Mohamed, and the lead judge had refused to take disciplinary action against Judge Mohamed as deputy head of the Judicial Services Commission. Another judge faces allegations of bribery and the third has a criminal record. What hope can there possibly be of a fair trial? “

The chairperson called on the government to release Nasheed and engage in political dialogue.

“Today I urge the Government of the Maldives to drop the charges, release Mr Nasheed and engage in a political dialogue to find a peaceful way forward towards the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights.”

Meanwhile, President Abdulla Yameen has declared foreigners must not meddle in domestic affairs, insisting Nasheed’s trial demonstrated the law would be enforced without bias.

In a statement on Thursday, the PPM said “many observers, ‘experts’ and ‘proponents of democratic values’ including many countries and organisations had ignored the many unconstitutional and undemocratic actions of President Nasheed.”

When Judge Abdulla was detained, “only a few organisations released statements condemning this illegal act,” but today “every minor incident in Maldives warrants a statement by some countries and organisations while many serious and deteriorating situations in other countries are ignored,” it added.

The PPM has repeatedly called on the international community to respect Maldives sovereignty and not to undermine its institutions.

Stressing the PPM remained committed to strengthening and consolidating democracy in the Maldives and protecting human rights, the party said it believed “justice should take its course and no man is above the law.”

Local human rights group Maldivian Democracy Network has also highlighted 11 issues of concern with Nasheed’s trial, ranging from alleged witness coaching to Criminal Court’s refusal to provide sufficient time to mount a defence.

The Criminal Court, however, has insisted Nasheed’s legal team had been afforded sufficient time, arguing case documents had been provided three years ago when the former President was charged with arbitrarily detaining Judge Abdulla.

Nasheed’s legal team maintain they require more time to prepare a defence for the new harsher charges of terrorism.

When lawyers quit in protest on March 9, the Criminal Court proceeded without affording Nasheed ten additional days to appoint new lawyers, insisting the former president could appoint lawyers at any time via a phone call.

The Criminal Court is to hear concluding statements tomorrow night. Judges could issue a verdict at their discretion afterwards.

The Commonwealth, EU, Canada, UK, Australia and India have expressed concern over new terror charges against Nasheed, and denial of legal representation and police mistreatment at the trial’s first hearing.

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UK alerts British tourists to protests in Malé

The United Kingdom has alerted British nationals travelling to the Maldives to take security precautions and to avoid large gatherings in Malé following the arrest of former President Mohamed Nasheed on february 22.

“Take care, remain vigilant, take appropriate security precautions and avoid large gatherings, protests and rallies,” read the travel advice updated yesterday (February 23).

The advisory read that all British nationals should contact the British High commission in Sri Lank for any consular assistance, and that the honorary consul in capital Malé can liase with the British High  Commission in Sri Lanka in case of emergencies .

The alert also noted that there is a general threat of terrorism in the Maldives, saying that attacks could be indiscriminate, in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers including tourists, and urged travelers to take comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.

Read the full travel advice here


UK police to investigate death threat sent to former President Nasheed

No additional reporting by missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has lodged a complaint with the counter terrorism command of the Metropolitan Police Service in the United Kingdom following a death threat sent to his phone.

The former president’s office revealed in a statement yesterday that the case was filed on Friday (October 3). The opposition leader is currently in the UK to attend the Conservative Party Conference.

This threat is one of a line of threats from Islamist extremists,” reads the statement.

“The latest threat follows on from an attack upon the headquarters of the Maldivian Democratic Party [MDP] and an attack upon President Nasheed’s home in the Maldives.”

Shortly after midnight on September 26, the MDP’s office was set on fire following two consecutive nights of vandalism of the main opposition party’s office and numerous death threats sent from unlisted numbers to MDP MPs, the party’s senior members and dozens of journalists.

On the same night, the door of former MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor’s residence was set ablaze whilst crude oil was thrown on Nasheed’s residence the previous night.

The statement from the former president’s office accused Maldivian police of not making “any moves to investigate these crimes” to date.

“President Nasheed has reiterated his concerns of growing fundamentalism and intolerance in the Maldives and more recently an attempt by Islamists to use criminal gangs to pursue crimes of this nature. Currently Maldivian Police appear unable to act to protect the lives of Maldivians. This issue of terrorism cannot continue to be ignored,” the statement read.

The UK police are investigating the death threat to trace its origin, the statement added.

“The information shared by UK police so far is that the texts received from the ‘private’ number are threats sent through,” Nasheed tweeted today.

An IT expert with experience in the telecommunications field told Minivan News in August that it would be difficult to identify the culprit if the text messages were sent through an online mass text message service.

“Unless it came from a local IP address it would be almost impossible to trace it back. If they used anonymous proxy servers to send the texts it could be traced back to the SMS gateway, but no further,” he said

Nasheed previously revealed on Twitter that Eid greetings were sent to his phone from the same number that sent the death threat.

Radicalised gangs

Prior to departing for the UK, Nasheed told reporters that radicalised gangs were behind the recent “atrocities” in the capital, noting that extremist religious indoctrination of youth was a relatively recent phenomenon in the Maldives.

“In my view, one of the most important reasons the government has to think deeply about this is because certain people are instilling their interpretation of Islam in the hearts of the boys in these gangs,” he contended.

Nasheed claimed that many young men from criminal gangs were seen in a protest march held in Malé on September 5 with participants bearing the militant organisation Islamic State (IS) flag and calling for the implementation of Islamic Sharia.

Of the approximately 150 participants, Nasheed claimed most were “active in gangs.”

“So youth in gangs are turning to ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] ideology. That activities of ISIS are happening in the Maldives is becoming very clear to us. And while this is happening, the government is unable to stop gang activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News last month that death threats have become too commonplace to publicise each incident.

Following a rally in September, MDP MP Eva Abdulla received a text message threatening a suicide attack at the next MDP gathering. The message threatened to “kill off” MDP members and vowed to “fight to the last drop of blood.”

Several journalist were also sent a text message warning them not to cover “the incidents happening in Malé now.”

“This is a war between the laadheenee [secular or irreligious] MDP mob and religious people. We advise the media not to come in the middle of this. We won’t hesitate to kill you,” read the threat.