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Feb 23, 2015 4:55 PM

Former Maldives president dragged into court by police

The Associated Press

MALE, Maldives (AP) Police on Monday dragged the Maldives' former president into a court, which ordered his detention while he is tried over his decision to arrest a top judge three years ago.

Mohamed Nasheed was arrested Sunday and charged under an anti-terrorism law.

He was brought to Criminal Court on Monday for the first hearing, and was dragged into the courtroom after he resisted police attempts to stop him from speaking to journalists gathered outside.

He entered court limping and complained to the judges that he had been manhandled by police. Police told the judges that the fracas occurred because Nasheed tried to stage a sit-in.

The three-judge panel gave Nasheed three days to name his lawyers and ordered him detained until the trial is over. They also asked authorities to give him medical attention.

The Maldives government says the anti-terrorism law covers not only violent terrorism, but a wide array of actions against the state.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations is closely monitoring the situation in the Maldives.

Earlier on Monday, he said, the country's Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon initiated a call and spoke to Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jens Toyberg-Frandzen "who stressed the need for full respect for due process and transparency of the legal proceedings against former president Nasheed."

Dujarric said Toyberg-Frandzen also appealed to the government of Maldives "to allow for peaceful political dissent and for ways to seek to engage with the opposition, in the interest of long-term political stability in that country."

The top U.S. diplomat for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, voiced concern over the arrest to the Maldivian foreign minister.

"She urged the government to take steps to restore confidence in their commitment to democracy, judicial independence and rule of law," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.

Nasheed resigned as president in 2012 following weeks of public protests against his order to arrest top Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed. Mohamed was arrested after he released a detained opposition politician, and Nasheed's administration accused him of political bias and corruption.

Nasheed became the country's first democratically elected leader in 2008, defeating Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, who had ruled autocratically for 30 years. However, Nasheed lost to Gayyoom's half-brother, Yameen, in the 2013 presidential election.

Nasheed's detention comes weeks after a key ally defected from Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's ruling coalition to align with Nasheed's opposition Maldivian Democratic Party. The party accuses the government of repeatedly violating the constitution.

The charges against Nasheed include using the military to arrest the judge when it had no authority to do so. He is also accused of detaining Mohamed for weeks without trial or legal counsel and ignoring a Supreme Court order to release him.


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