Ex-president dragged into court

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Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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Police have 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 yesterday and charged under an anti-terrorism law.

He was brought to Criminal Court today 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.

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.

But 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 Judge Mohamed for weeks without trial or legal counsel and ignoring a Supreme Court order to release him.

Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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