The Edition


Maldives police raid Nasheed's house over 'coup' plot

Mohamed Visham
31 August 2016, MVT 22:52
Police officers pictured inside Nasheed's house in the capital Male on Wednesday.
Mohamed Visham
31 August 2016, MVT 22:52

Police on Wednesday raided the home of jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed as the government intensified its crackdown on opposition efforts to oust president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from office.

Police said Kenereege in Galolhu ward in the capital Male was searched under a court order.

The alleged search warrant being circulated on social networking sites say the court sanctioned the raid on Nasheed's residence over allegations of a plot to overthrow the government.

The raid comes hours after a former opposition lawmaker was whisked away by police.

Former main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmaker for Seenu Atoll Hulhudhoo Ilyas Labeeb was questioned over the coup plot.

He was later released after his phone was confiscated for the investigation.

Nasheed who has been granted asylum in the UK after he was allowed to leave for medical treatment in an internationally brokered deal in January has united the main opposition parties and stepped up efforts to remove Yameen from office.

Nasheed had been sentenced last March on a terrorism charge over the arrest and subsequent detention of a sitting Judge during his presidency, in a trial widely criticized for lack of due process.

The first democractically elected leader is reportedly in Sri Lanka to plan Yameen's ouster.

A Maldives court on Tuesday issued a formal warrant for the arrest of Nasheed to coincide with his visit to Sri Lanka.

According to the police, the arrest warrant was issued in conjunction with investigations, pursuant to a 2011 Audit Report.

Nasheed and six senior officials of his administration have been ordered to repay government funds they had allegedly misused or face lawsuits.

The Maldives Correctional Service is also seeking to have Nasheed brought back to serve a remainder of his 13 year sentence from which he was initially granted extraordinary medical leave.

In addition to Nasheed, an arrest warrant has also been issued against former vice president and leader of the new opposition coalition Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

The arrest warrant was issued against Dr Jameel who now heads the opposition coalition over the forged warrant to arrest the president.

In addition to Jameel, a warrant to arrest opposition aligned Raajje TV Chairman over the case.

Jameel and Akram are also currently living in exile in the United Kingdom.

Jameel had fled to the UK last July days before he was impeached in a controversial vote which was alleged to have been orchestrated by his eventual successor Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor who himself was impeached following a blast aboard the presidential speedboat.

The newly formed opposition alliance had said it will seek to oust incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and form an interim government to ensure free and fair elections scheduled in 2018.

The MUO brings together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of Yameen’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

The arrest warrants come in the wake of intense speculation of a plot to oust President Yameen from office.

Opposition had said, Jameel who had recently been granted political refugee status by Britain would also join the talks in Sri Lanka.

But the ex-VP is reportedly still in the UK while the reason behind the delay is yet to be confirmed.

The British public service broadcaster quoted sources saying the opposition plans to move against the president “within weeks.”

According to the BBC report, details of what is being planned remain obscure but the government has described it as a “formal attempt at ‘legally’ overthrowing the government”.

The report has been met by intense government criticism accusing the opposition of plotting the illegal overthrow of a democratically elected government.