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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

LIVE: Nasheed “seeking advice” in Indian High Commission following court order for his arrest

LIVE: Nasheed “seeking advice” in Indian High Commission following court order for his arrest

LIVE: Nasheed “seeking advice” in Indian High Commission following court order for his arrest thumbnail
Police have been issued a court order to produce former President Mohamed Nasheed at the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court ahead of his trial, scheduled at 4:00pm today.
The former President, who is due to attend a hearing regarding his detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012, was inside the Indian High Commission at 1:00pm this afternoon following the announcement of the court order.
Police had set up barricades around the High Commission area at time of press.
Police Spokesperson Sub Inspector Hassan Haneef today confirmed that police had received an order to produce the former president at the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.
“We have received the order and we will be trying to carry it out in accordance with the Maldivian constitution and the order itself,” Haneef said.
The court summons follows Nasheed’s failure to attend his previously scheduled trial hearing at Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court on February 10.
The former President was on an official visit to India after being granted permission to depart the country by the court. Despite his permitted travel period expiring on February 9, Nasheed arrived back in Male’ on February 11.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Rasheed at 1:00pm said the former President was inside the Indian High Commission in Male’, “seeking advice” after news of the court order calling for his arrest was made public on Tuesday night.
“He went to the hospital in Male’ this morning and then returned back to his home. After a few minutes he went to the Indian High Commission with a couple of MDP MPs.
“[Nasheed’s] lawyers are not around at the moment, but from what I know they are attempting to appeal the order at the High Court,” Rasheed said.
Last night Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members camped outside the former President’s residence in order to prevent police from entering the narrow street where Nasheed lives.
MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed  police had intended to arrest Nasheed in secret in order to present him at his court hearing today.
“They [Police] were going to pounce on Nasheed, but we received intelligence about it and let people know what was happening,” Ghafoor said.
“This is pre-2008 procedures. At least one hundred people were outside Nasheed’s residence last night throughout the night,” Hamid told Minivan News today.
Minivan News observed crowds of supporters still filling the street this morning at around 10:30am.
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1:15pm: The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have issued a statement condemning the arrest warrant for Nasheed.
“The MDP reiterates its belief that the arrest warrant and the charges against him are politically motivated and calls on the international community to remain vigilant and immediately intervene to ensure a free and fair trial for President Nasheed,” the party said.
“President Nasheed’s legal team was informed by the Maldives Police Services that the court order was issued to arrest President Nasheed and summon him to the court on 13 February 2013. However, the court has not yet informed him or his legal team of the scheduled hearing.”
1:39pm: Maldives Police Service (MPS) were standing outside the Indian High Commission building in Male’.
The second hearing of the case was scheduled on 10th February 2013 while President Nasheed was on an official visit to India and was unable to return to Male’ due to a medical emergency.
The lawyers informed the court in writing as stated in the court’s regulations. According to the regulations, if the accused is unable to attend the hearing and after informing the court, documentation must be provided to the court within 2 working days.
While time frame to produce the documents has not even passed, and when the documents were being processed, the court issued an arrest warrant on President Nasheed on 11th February 2013. The courts also have an option to fine the accused (MVR 75) for failing to appear before court.
1:59pm: ‘MDP News’ Twitter feed shows woman being apprehended by police outside the High Commission building.
“This highlights, once again, how biased the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court is against President Nasheed. This illegal court has no interest in the rule of law, it exists merely to serve the political aims of its paymasters. This trial is a thinly veiled attempt by Dr Wadeed, in cahoots with his friends in the judiciary, to prevent President Nasheed from contesting in the upcoming presidential elections. The regime is fearful of President Nasheed’s popularity, so they are pulling out all the stops to prevent his name appearing on the ballot paper. These forceful measures by the Court are contrary to their usual practice,” said MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.
2:43pm: Indian media ‘Times Now Live’ asks: “Will India protect Nasheed?”
3:30pm: Nasheed has tweeted confirming that he is seeking refuge in the Indian High Commission: “Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives.”
Minivan News observed around 200 people gathered near the police barricades. The crowd appeared non-violent but the atmosphere was tense.
3:54pm: Indian media is reporting the Indian government as denying that Nasheed has sought refuge.
4:05pm: Minivan News has observed a police officer armed with a rubber bullet gun deployed outside the High Commission.
4:10pm: MDP MP Ghafoor has said Nasheed is discussing “a transition arrangement, where we can have a free and fair election in September.”
“We have a scenario now we can’t move ahead without a mediator. We prefer India because it is our neighbour and a democratic nation,” he said.
4:23pm: Minivan News understands that no formal request for refuge or asylum has been made at this stage.
4:26pm: An appeal hearing was cancelled after a summoning chit was not able to be delivered to Nasheed.
4:27pm: Riot police appear to have pulled a man out of the crowd and arrested him.
4:49pm: MDP MP and spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor has said he was not aware how long the former president planned to remain in the Indian High Commission building.
“This is the safest place for him to be until a solution is found,” he claimed. “I would speculate that a transitional arrangement for fresh elections is being sought.”
Without providing specific examples of how Nasheed’s life was in danger, MP Ghafoor contended there had been threats against the former president going back to when he was first elected in 2008.
“Right now we have militarised Special Operations (SO) police officers running the show. I do not believe [Nasheed] is safe,” he claimed. “50,000 MDP members do not trust the police either.”
After Nasheed was previously taken into police custody ahead of a court hearing back in October 2012, the former president was not reported to have been physically mistreated by authorities during his transfer to Dhoonidho