05 March, 2013

Nasheed arrest: India expects ‘rule of law’ to be followed

Nasheed arrest: India expects 'rule of law' to be followed
India urges concerned parties to 'exercise caution and restraint'
Elizabeth Roche 

Elizabeth Roche

Former Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed, centre. being escorted by police officers after being arrested on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

India on Tuesday said it expects adherence to the "rule of law" following the detention of former Maldives president Mohammed Nasheed earlier in the day to face alleged criminal charges relating to abuse of powers.
"India expects due process and the Rule of Law would be followed. We would urge all concerned to exercise caution and restraint and not to resort to any violence or extra-constitutional means and steps which would weaken the democratic system," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in a statement.

"We have been informed that former President Nasheed's lawyers and family are going to meet him now as allowed by the authorities. We are monitoring the situation closely," he said.
Last month, Nasheed had taken refuge in the Indian high commission (embassy) in Male seeking to avoid arrest. He walked out only after a reported informal agreement with the Maldivian government under which he would be free to campaign for presidential elections that are due on 7 September. The agreement was reportedly brokered by India.
The Maldivian government has denied any deal had been reached to end Nasheed's refuge in the embassy, but diplomatic sources say India sought assurances to bring an end to the stand-off.
A conviction will bar Nasheed from holding office and his party considers the charges against him to be politically motivated.

Nasheed's detention could bring more instability to the archipelago that is located astride strategic shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean. It has been racked by violence and political infighting since February 2012 when Nasheed was ousted following a mutiny by security forces and demonstrations which he believes were fomented by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom—something the present government and Gayoom deny.

Nasheed came to power in 2008 after campaigning for decades for democracy in the Maldives.

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