Maldives Ex-President prevented from leaving country

Monday, 24 December 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

COLOMBO (AFP): Maldives authorities on Friday prevented the former President who was ousted in February from leaving the island nation to visit his ill father in Bangkok, a party lawmaker said.

Mohamed Nasheed (45), who resigned after what he alleges was a coup, is awaiting trial by a special court on charges of giving an illegal order when he was in office to have a judge arrested.

If convicted, he could be jailed or banished to a remote island for three years.

The Maldives, better known as a luxury holiday destination, has been rocked by violent protests over the past year in a stand-off between Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party and its opponents, who are now in power.

“We believe this is pure harassment and such behaviour towards a former President cannot be tolerated,” a MDP lawmaker Maria Didi, said.

Nasheed, who won the first free elections in the Maldives in 2008, was forced out after prolonged public demonstrations against him and a mutiny by police.

His trial has been suspended and his lawyers said he was granted leave to travel freely until 5 January.

President Mohamed Waheed’s spokesman was not immediately available to comment.