Male, Aug 24: Mohamed Nasheed has been forcibly taken back to jail by police, a month after the former Maldivian president's 13-year prison term was commuted to house arrest, his party claimed today, describing the move as "arbitrary and illegal".
Nasheed's party the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said that policemen, without a court warrant forcefully entered his home yesterday, breaking the main gate of the house and pepper sprayed those inside the house indiscriminately. The party strongly condemned Nasheed's arrest by the Maldives Correctional Service and Maldives Police Service, calling it "arbitrary and illegal".
"The transfer of President Nasheed back to jail is a blatant violation of the Constitution," the party said in a statement. The correctional service, however, said that the 48-year-old ex-president was "temporarily" transferred to house arrest for eight weeks due to health reasons -- in accordance with his doctor's advice to allow him to be in a "stress free environment".
The eight weeks ended last Friday. Despite rumours of a permanent transfer to house arrest, no official decision was made public regarding the matter. And yesterday, the ex-president was taken back to prison, officials at correctional service were quoted as saying by Haveeru newspaper.
The paper said that various sources claim that a month back, the government forwarded a document stating that Nasheed has been transferred to house arrest to serve the rest of his jail term.
But the claims always remained questionable since there is no law or regulation that can allow the executive to take such a unilateral decision pertaining to a judicial matter, it added.
Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader who was arrested on February 22 over the detention of a judge in 2012, was charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1990 in a criminal court hearing in March. Immediately after the sentencing, Nasheed was incarcerated in a prison on a remote island.
His conviction drew widespread criticism over the apparent lack of due process in the 19-day trial. The fairness has been questioned by international governments, including India and the US, and rights organisations.
The former president was ousted in February, 2011 by a mutiny of security forces. He said he was forced to resign as a result of a coup.