Former President Mohamed Nasheed has been arrested by police ahead of his trial hearing at Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court, scheduled for 4:00pm tomorrow (March 6).
Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that Nasheed had been arrested and taken into police custody at 1:30pm today (March 5).
“We have received the order. Police have taken Nasheed into custody in order to produce him at Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court 16 hours from now,” Haneef told Minivan News.
Photos of the arrest showed several dozen police wearing balaclavas and black riot gear, several armed with rubber bullet guns, entering Nasheed’s family home in Male’ and emerging with the former president.
Shortly after the arrest, Minivan News observed President Mohamed Waheed’s brother Ali Waheed forced off his motorcycle by several dozen angry demonstrators on the main road Majeedee Magu, at the turnoff to Nasheed’s house. A second, larger group pulled Ali Waheed to safety, abandoning his motorcycle. The first group then attacked a parked military vehicle, smashing a window.
Nasheed’s latest trial hearing follows his exit from the Indian High Commission last month, after the Maldivian and Indian government came to an alleged “understanding” that he would be able to conduct a peaceful campaign and participate in an inclusive election.
The former president told Indian media on Sunday (March 3) that while he had ended his 11-day stay in the Indian High Commission, he was still not entirely free and feared an arrest warrant would be issued against him any day soon.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor confirmed to Minivan News that there were Special Operation (SO) officers outside Nasheed’s residence earlier today prior to his arrest.
“He has been taken away to Dhoonidhoo [prison], we are still in a state of shock,” Hamid said.
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.
Following his exit from the High Commission, the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court issued a travel ban to Nasheed, preventing him from leaving the country.