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India confirms Nasheed refuge in embassy

Posted on Feb 14, 07:28PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 14 : India has confirmed that Ex-Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Male after a court issued an arrest warrant against him.

The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement confirming the same on Wednesday.

"Following the arrest warrant issued against him by the Hulhumale Magistrate Court, the former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who is a candidate for the Presidential elections in Maldives scheduled for September 2013, is in the Indian High Commission and has sought India's assistance. We are in touch with the relevant Maldivian authorities to resolve the situation," said the MEA statement.

"As a close and friendly neighbour, India has expressed concern over the ongoing political instability in Maldives and called upon the Government and all political parties to adhere strictly to democratic principles and the rule of law, thereby paving the way for free, fair, credible and inclusive elections. Now that the President of the Election Commission of Maldives has announced that Presidential elections would be held on 7 September 2013, it is necessary that the Presidential nominees of recognized political parties be free to participate in the elections without any hindrance," India said.

"Prevention of participation by political leaders in the contest would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in Maldives. This is not in the interest of Maldives or the region. India would call upon the Government and all political parties in Maldives to avoid any actions that would vitiate the political atmosphere in the Maldives," said the statement of MEA.

Earlier Nasheed tweeted: "Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives."

Nasheed made the move after a Maldivian court issued an arrest warrant against the former President after he failed to attend a court hearing on Feb 10 in connection to the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdullah Mohamed last year.

The police will not be able to arrest him till he is inside the Indian High Commission.

Reacting to the development, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj tweeted: "The situation in Maldives is a matter of serious concern."

"I have spoken to NSA (National Security Advisor) and asked him that the Government should keep us informed in this regard," she said.

Nasheed on Feb 7 last year resigned after public protests disrupted the island nation for weeks over his order to arrest chief judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed.