Former Maldivian president back in jail

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed jailed again month after 13-year prison sentence commuted to house arrest, his party says

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed speaking to the press in Male in November 2013

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said on Monday that former President Mohamed Nasheed has been jailed again a month after his 13-year prison sentence was commuted to house arrest.

Police and prison officials clashed with supporters on Sunday night as they took Nasheed, the archipelago's first democratically-elected leader, from his home in the capital Male and removed him to the high security prison island of Maafushi.

"Nasheed's transfer back to jail is in clear breach of the Maldives' constitution, which provides no provision for reversing a commutation of a sentence," the MDP said.

Nasheed, who was toppled in February 2012, was arrested in March after a court convicted him under tough anti-terror laws. His sentence was formally commuted to house arrest on July 19. The charges relate to the arrest of a judge accused of corruption when Nasheed was president.

Nasheed's supporters consider his conviction to be an attempt by the regime of President Abdulla Yameen, the current president, to silence him.

After closed-door talks with the opposition MDP aimed at ending political unrest in the islands, Nasheed had earlier been moved to the main island of Male to receive medical treatment as part of a deal with the current government.

Nasheed's jailing in March after a quick trial was described by the United Nations as "vastly unfair" and Washington warned the conviction meant danger for the fledgling democracy.

The MDP has called on President Yameen to adhere to commitments made in talks to release high profile political prisoners including Nasheed. The party has called for quashing criminal charges against some 1,700 defectors.

The bargain between the Government and MDP means that the party will provide parliamentary support for the sacking of Yameen's Vice President Mohamed Jameel on treason charges, among other issues.

A controversial legal change that would allow foreign ownership of land for the first time in the Indian Ocean archipelago was also supported as part of the bargain.

TRTWorld and agencies