Uncategorized Maldives opp. leaders arrested after protests

Maldives opp. leaders arrested after protests

Police detain an injured opposition supporter during a protest demanding Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom resign and jailed ex-president Mohamed Nasheed be freed, in Male', Maldives, Friday, May 1, 2015. The thousands of protesters marching in one of the biggest marches in Male accused Gayoom of jailing Nasheed and others who he sees as political threats.
Police detain an injured opposition supporter during a protest demanding Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom resign and jailed ex-president Mohamed Nasheed be freed, in Male’, Maldives, Friday, May 1, 2015. The thousands of protesters marching in one of the biggest marches in Male accused Gayoom of jailing Nasheed and others who he sees as political threats.

(AA) – Senior leaders of the Maldivian opposition have been arrested along with around 200 protesters following mass anti-government demonstrations in the capital Male Friday, police officials said.

An estimated 20,000 marched as part of the Maldivians Against Brutality alliance, calling for the release of recently arrested opposition leaders, including the former president Mohamed Nasheed, who was imprisoned to 13 years on terrorism charges despite his speedy trial being widely criticized.

Leaders of the main opposition political parties, including Maldivian Democratic Party Chairman Ali Waheed and leader of the religious Adhaalath Party Sheikh Imran Abdulla were arrested Saturday after authorities accused them of planning to overthrow the government, party officials confirmed.

Police acknowledged the use of stun guns, tear gas, and pepper spray as protesters attempted to access the protected security zone following Friday afternoon’s march. The opposition has Saturday morning confirmed that protests will continue tonight.

As running street clashes continued late into Friday evening, police promised “zero tolerance”, later reporting that two Special Operations officers had been seriously injured following attacks by demonstrators.

International attention continued to be focused on the country Friday as UN officials reported the findings of a three-day visit to investigate the issues surrounding former president Nasheed’s case.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that  “the trial of Mr Nasheed had been vastly unfair and his conviction had been arbitrary and disproportionate.”

Criticism from international groups has been met with firm rebukes from the Maldivian government in recent days. Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon this week said a resolution from European MPs criticizing the country’s human rights record was based on “fabrications, misconceptions and misrepresentations.”

Both the UN and Amnesty International urged calm ahead of Friday’s protests, while the Maldives Permanent Mission to Geneva warned international groups that the demonstrations were intended to cause violence.

“The organizers have mobilized people known to have radical connections in the Middle East and elsewhere,” said the Geneva mission.

The Maldivians Against Brutality Alliance turned down last minute overtures for negotiations with the government ahead of the protest, with Sheikh Imran Abdulla refusing to meet with Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Imran’s party joined Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party in March, shortly after the sentencing of the former president Nasheed and former defense minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim to 13 and 11 years in jail, respectively.

Nasheed’s terrorism trial – in relation to the 2012 detention of a Criminal Court judge – and Nazim’s conviction on smuggling weapons in an attempt to oust President Abdulla Yameen have been condemned for their lack of due process.

Previous articleTurkish Min: Delivering S. Cyprus gas via Egypt not feasible
Next articleThe Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Welcome A Daughter