Arrest of President Nasheed is Arbitrary and Illegal– MDP

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) strongly condemns arbitrary arrest of President Mohamed Nasheed by the Maldives Correctional Service on Sunday night.

The retraction of permanent commutation of President Mohamed Nasheed’s sentence to house arrest and his transfer back to country’s maximum security jail in Maafushi island is illegal.

On 23 August, at around 8:30 pm, unidentified prison guards arrived at President Nasheed’s home without any authorised documentation to transfer him back to Maafushi prison. President Nasheed’s lawyers presented an official document of the Maldives Corrections Service with government seal and signature. However, prison officers denied the existence of this document that was hand delivered to President Nasheed by corrections officers on 19th July.

Police officers, without a court warrant forcefully entered his home, breaking the main gate of the house and pepper sprayed those inside the house indiscriminately.

Supporters of President Nasheed and media officials were heavily pepper sprayed by police officers who screamed foul at those gathered outside President Nasheed’s house when he was taken in a van by prison guards.

Transfer of President Nasheed back to jail is a blatant violation of the Constitution.

On 1 July, MDP entered talks with the government in good faith. In these talks, MDP demanded for the release and dropping of charges against over 1700 democracy activists. MDP believed the platform would result in political reconciliation to end the current political crisis. MDP strongly reiterates its calls on the government to deliver on its side of talks bargain and to immediately free President Nasheed and all other political prisoners.

MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said: “President Yameen has demonstrated that he is a man who will break his word and is not to be trusted. Yameen has deliberately plunged the country into political upheaval. We will do all we can to stop this country from sliding into a full dictatorship. We demand the immediate release of President Nasheed.”