Former president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has sought refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male and in return has evaded warrant of arrest warrant issued by a court against the former leader.
Reports say Mr. Nasheed, 45, has sought refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male which India has agreed to give him shelter there together with six of his MPs.
The ormer Maldivian president reportedly has sought India’s assistance so that he could extend his appeal for refuge to a request for asylum in India.
Mr Nasheed is charged with abusing his power as president after winning the first free elections in the country in 2008.
His refuge in Indian embassy creating a stir
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the United States is concerned about ongoing events in Male.
“We urge all sides to remain calm, reject the use of violence, and avoid rhetoric that could increase tensions.” – Ms. Nuland
Ms. Nuland notes the Former President Nasheed must be accorded due process under the law regarding his pending court cases.
The US urges that the Presidential elections scheduled for September 7, 2013 be free, fair, credible, transparent and inclusive.
The integrity of and public confidence in the Maldivian electoral process must be maintained, she added.
Accordingly, the US notes that all parties participating in these elections should be able to put forward the candidate of their choice.
“We continue to urge all parties to chart a way forward that respects Maldivian democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.” – Ms. Nuland
United Nations Urges Restraint
In addition, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also monitoring with “concern” the developments in Maldives, since Mr. Mohamed Nasheed sought refuge in the Indian High Commission.
Mr. Ban reportedly urged all political parties to exercise restraint, renew their commitment to the Constitution and work toward creating conducive conditions for fair, peaceful and inclusive elections.
See also this story from March 2012, Scuffles between members of the assembly
In March 2012, demonstrations prevented the scheduled reopening of the Maldives parliament after scuffles broke out between members of the assembly.
The new President Waheed Hassan was due to deliver his inaugural presidential address to the parliament today.
However, lawmakers supporting former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party blocked the entrance to the chambers and sent the new President Mohammed Waheed away.
A protest also erupted inside the parliament building and hundreds of party supporters marched the streets and clashed with the police.
The parliament will soon announce a date for new President Mohammed Waheed to make the opening address which is officially required to open the parliament.
Concern Over Continuing Political Tensions
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has voiced his concern over the continuing political tensions in the country.
Mr. Ban reiterated that the political crisis following the resignation on 7th February of Mohamed Nasheed as president must be resolved peacefully through a national process based on dialogue and consensus.
Mr. Ban urged all parties concerned to resume immediately their political dialogue, both in and outside parliament, in order to find a mutually agreeable way forward on the basis of the Constitution.
Reports say Mr. Nasheed resigned after days of protests and tensions between the Government and military and police. He was succeeded by Mr. Hassan, his former deputy. Reports later emerged indicating that Mr. Nasheed had said his resignation was not voluntary.
In November 2011, the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said Maldives has made “significant advances” during the first few years of its transition to democracy. Also, Maldives deserved credit for the progress it has made since a reform agenda began nearly a decade ago.
Multi-party presidential elections were held for the first time in 2008, ending 30 years of one-party rule, and the country has ratified six of the seven core international treaties.
In addition, Maldives recently became the 118th State Party to the ICC, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands and can try cases relating to war crimes committed since July 2002.