Nasheed takes refuge at Indian mission in Male

Male, Feb 13 (IANS) Mohamed Nasheed, a former president who once held a cabinet meeting under water to highlight dangers to island-nations from global warming, took refuge at the Indian High Commission here Tuesday after a court ordered his arrest.

The court issued the arrest order for his failing to attend a hearing in the illegal detention of a judge.

"Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives," tweeted Maldivian opposition leader Nasheed, 45.

Maldives Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb Abdhul Gafoor said: "There is no point of his (Nasheed) being there (at the Indian High Commission)."

Gafoor told IANS over phone from Male that Nasheed "is there" at the Indian High Commission. He added that there would be "no effort to take him out".

"Anyone can visit the Indian High Commission," Gafoor said and suggested that the Indian media may be indulging in unnecessary speculation over the turn of events in his country.

He said the situation in his island country was "calm and stable" and very much "under control".

"Yeah, I think," said the senior minister when asked whether Male was in touch with New Delhi over this development.

The Maldives, an atoll nation, is known for its deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It comprises 1,190 islands - of which about 200 are inhabited - and has a population of 350,000.

Nasheed, 45, entered the Indian High Commission as the Hulhumal court issued an arrest order for him to be brought to court after he failed to attend the scheduled hearing over last year's detention of Criminal Court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Nasheed resigned Feb 7 last year followed by what he alleged was a coup. Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan succeeded him.

Nasheed later claimed he was forced to quit at gun-point and urged the international community, particularly India, to help restore "democracy" in the South Asian archipelago.

Nasheed's political party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, has strongly condemned the arrest warrant and reiterated its belief that the arrest warrant and the charges against him are politically motivated.

Gafoor said that Tuesday's development is "not politically motivated". He said the judiciary, which was independent in his country, had in fact been lenient towards Nasheed and allowed him to travel despite grave charges against him.

There had been widespread violence before and after Nasheed stepped down as the president in February last year.

"It is nothing like that...Everything is under control," Gafoor told IANS when asked if the government feared violence after Nasheed walked into the Indian mission.

He said Nasheed should come out and face court hearing and let law of the land take its course.

A large number of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters gathered on hearing the news, reported sun.mv, an online news portal in the Maldives.

According to some reports, there is a large police presence in front of the Indian High Commission as well as the Traders' Hotel opposite the mission that was cordoned off.

Presidential spokesperson Imad Masood told Xinhua that summons were issued after Nasheed defied a court order to be present in court and the court in return issued an order to the police to present him.

"The MDP calls on the international community to remain vigilant and immediately intervene to ensure a free and fair trial for Nasheed," Nasheed's political party, the MDP, said Wednesday.

The MDP added that the second hearing of the case was scheduled Feb 10 while Nasheed was on a visit to India and was unable to return to Male due to a medical emergency.

However, Nasheed's lawyers had informed the court in writing, the party said.

Nasheed hit the world headlines four years ago when he held a cabinet meeting under water to highlight global warming and the threat to his atoll nation. He and his ministers were in full scuba gear as they met for about 30 minutes at a depth of six metres just north of the capital Male in 2009.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

There's a lot going on, I won't lie: Stephen Fleming

There's a lot going on, I won't lie: Stephen Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif didn't want to work with tainted players

Latif didn't want to work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »

IPL’s credibility needs rebuilding

IPL’s credibility needs rebuilding

Players, coaches, team management and franchises would do well to realise that the seventh edition of the IPL is under intense scrutiny and credibility… More »