Ex-president of Maldives takes refuge in Indian embassy

February 14, 2013 - 12:48:41 am

MALE: Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed took refuge in the Indian High Commission in the capital Male yesterday as police attempted to arrest him, raising the prospect of protests by supporters who say he was ousted a year ago in a coup.

Nasheed, the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader, was removed from office in contested circumstances and his supporters have frequently clashed with security forces in the Indian Ocean archipelago, famous as a luxury tourist resort.

“Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives,” Nasheed wrote on his Twitter page. Riot police barricaded the street outside the High Commission after Nasheed’s arrival at noon, as his supporters began to gather.

India’s External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that Nasheed had sought India’s assistance and that the High Commission was in touch with Maldivian authorities.

A court ordered Nasheed’s arrest after he missed a February 10 court appearance in a case relating to accusations that he illegally detained a judge during the last days of his rule, police spokesman Hassan Haneef said.

“We have received the order and we will be trying to carry it out in accordance with the Maldivian constitution and the order itself.” REUTERS