Maldives police seek to question ex-leader

AP News
Posted: Feb 14, 2012 6:16 AM
Maldives police seek to question ex-leader

Authorities in the Maldives on Tuesday asked former President Mohamed Nasheed to make a police statement on his controversial order to the military to arrest a top judge, a move that ended in his ouster from power last week. They say Nasheed has refused.

The move could be a prelude to criminal charges against Nasheed, who has said he was forced to resign at gunpoint.

Nasheed's party officials could not be contacted immediately for comment.

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean island nation that relies on high-end tourism for its economy, has been in political turmoil since Nasheed was replaced last week by former vice president Mohammed Waheed Hassan after losing support of the police and military over his order to fire the judge.

Police spokesman Ahmed Shyam said that police have asked Nasheed to chose a place and time to make a formal statement but he refused.

"He does not need to come to the police headquarters, but the police will go wherever he is. But he is not cooperating," Shyam said. He said that police has still not decided what alternative methods to question Nasheed.

A court last week issued an arrest warrant for Nasheed in the same case on suspicion of illegal arrest and breach of the constitution, but there has been so far no move to arrest him.

Nasheed's order to the military last month to arrest the country's top Criminal Court Judge Abdullah Mohamed _ who his government accused of political bias and corruption _ sparked weeks of protests led by the opposition in this Indian Ocean archipelago.

The dispute climaxed last Tuesday when Nasheed lost support of the police and military and later resigned. He later claimed that he was forced to resign at gunpoint and replaced by Hassan.

Nasheed is seeking for the resignation of Hassan and early elections as a way out of the impasse.

Hassan however refused to go for early election but said he will form a National Unity Government and invited Nasheed's party also to be part of it. Nasheed has rejected the invitation, but the proposal has received the backing of the United Nations and countries like the United States.