An arrest warrant was issued for former president Mohamed Nasheed of the Indian Ocean archipelago the Maldives. “The home minister has pledged (I will be) the first former president to spend all my life in jail,” said Nasheed, as reported by Reuters.“The facts on the ground are that tomorrow I will be in jail.”
It is unclear what Nasheed is being accused of.
Protests against Nasheed’s government started after he ordered the military to arrest a senior judge, accusing the judge of political bias towards allies of Maumoon Adbul Gooyam. Gooyam is the autocrat who ruled the Maldives for 30 years before Nasheed took office. Nasheed’s successor, Mohammed Hassan denied there was a coup. He was sworn in hours after Nasheed’s resignation. Nasheed believes Gooyam’s networks are behind the ousting. “Dictatorships don’t always die when the dictator leaves office,” Nasheed wrote in a piece for the New York Times.
Nasheed, the first democratically elected president, claimed he was forced to resign at gunpoint. But at a televised news conference, he stated: “It will be better for the country in the current situation if I resign. I don’t want to run the country with an iron fist.”
In Male, supporters of Mr. Nasheed clashed with the police on Wednesday as officers used tear gas and wooden batons to disperse the crowds, writes the New York Times. The police blamed protesters for rioting and throwing stones at government buildings, though the protesters accused officers of attacking what had been a peaceful procession.
The United States on Wednesday said it intended to send an envoy to the Maldives. “We are urging the government and the political parties to work together to resolve this situation peacefully. And we’re continuing to monitor the situation,” Victoria Nuland, the US state department spokeswoman, told reporters.
The Maldives is made up of a chain of nearly 1,200 islands, most of them uninhabited, which lie off the Indian sub-continent. It is best known for luxury resorts that can cost up to a $1,000 a night.