Maldives ex-president's life 'in danger': spokesman

Maldives ex-president's life 'in danger': spokesman

Maldives ex-president's life 'in danger': spokesman

Updated 20 February 2013, 0:49 AEST

The main Opposition party in the Maldives has condemned fresh moves to arrest its leader, former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Mr Nasheed has been sheltering at the Indian embassy in the capital Male for a week.

The Maldivian Government says a new arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Nasheed to face charges of abuse of power while president, after a previous warrant expired.

Mr Nasheed's supporters in the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) say President Mohamed Waheed is pressing for a politically-motivated trial that could disqualify the former leader from contesting presidential elections in September

MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Gafoor has condemned the new arrest warrant.

"This is the second arrest warrant, and if he steps outside the High Commission I believe his life is in danger," he told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific.

If [Mr Nasheed] steps outside the High Commission I believe his life is in danger.

Hamid Abdul Gafoor, spokesman for former president Nasheed

"The court case is just something that is going to cover this whole incident of the coup. Unfortunately the coup has resurfaced because of these testimonies and this looks like the end game."

'Protected man'

The office of Maldives President Mohamed Waheed has dismissed Mr Gafoor's comments as nonsense.

Presidential spokesman Masood Imad told Asia Pacific that Mr Nasheed will get 24-hour protection if he leaves the Indian embassy to face court.

"Mr Nasheed's life is not in danger," he said.

"We are seeing to it that he's adequately supported by bodyguards and security services as a former president of this country."

A magistrate has ordered Mr Nasheed to appear before him on Wednesday.

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry says it has informed the Indian High Commission about the latest warrant for Mr Nasheed but indicated police would not storm the embassy.

Calls for free elections

The ministry summoned Indian High Commissioner D.M. Mulay on Sunday to deliver a protest that India was allowing Mr Nasheed to use its embassy for political activities - a charge the Indian embassy denies.

Official sources told AFP the Maldives had asked New Delhi to "stop interfering" in local politics and to uphold diplomatic norms.

India appealed to its neighbour last week to guarantee "the integrity of the electoral process" before the presidential elections, but has denied interfering.

Mr Nasheed is accused of abusing his powers after he won the country's first free elections in 2008.

The former pro-democracy activist was ousted last year by violent protests and by a mutiny by police and troops.

The United States and the United Nations have joined India in calling for free elections in the Maldives.

ABC/AFP