Nasheed leaves for UK for urgent medical treatment

Colombo, Jan 21: Mohamed Nasheed, the former Maldivian president serving a 13-year jail sentence on terror charges, today left for London for urgent surgery after a brief stop over in Sri Lanka, his party has said. Nasheed, 48, arrived here on January 18 after he was released by the Maldivian government to seek medical treatment in the UK following an international intervention.

"He left Colombo early this morning," Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said.

Nasheed leaves for UK

Sri Lankan foreign ministry denied that Nasheed had met President Maithripala Sirisena and other government leaders during his two-day stay in Colombo.

Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake visited Male last week to broker the arrangement which was also supported by India, the UK and US, officials said.

Nasheed was supposed to leave on Sunday after a deal brokered by diplomats from India and Sri Lanka as well as Britain, but his departure was delayed as the government imposed new conditions on his trip.

The Maldivian government was insisting that he nominate a family member to stay in Male to guarantee his return. Nasheed initially refused this proposal, but finally agreed to the offer.

Read More: Mohamed Nasheed arrives in Colombo to fly to UK for medical care

According to Maldivian government, Nasheed had signed an undertaking to return after his treatment and his brother has agreed to act as guarantor. Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, was sentenced to 13 years in jail in March over the arbitrary arrest of chief criminal judge Abdullah Muhammed during his presidency.

He was elected in 2008, ending three decades of rule by former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Nasheed resigned as the Maldives leader in February 2012 after weeks of protests over the judges arrest on corruption allegations.

The former president had appealed his prison sentence after backtracking on his earlier decision and opted to go to the Supreme Court instead. In his appeal, Nasheed had sought a lesser penalty under the new penal code that came into effect in November.

The Supreme Court had also been asked to nullify the charges lodged against him in the lower court and the subsequent sentence. India, the US and the European Union had all expressed concern over Nasheed's imprisonment and conviction.

His conviction drew widespread criticism over the apparent lack of due process in the 19-day trial. The current President Abdulla Yameen was elected in controversial polls in 2013 and is the half-brother of Gayoom.


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