Maldives court on Monday refused bail to former president Mohamed Nasheed after he was arrested on terrorism charges and denied access to his lawyers, his party said.
Police forcibly manhandled and forcefully dragged the ex president turned opposition leader into the court in the capital Male, ignoring his plea to be allowed to walk in himself, and denied him medical attention though the court had ordered “necessary treatment.”
Nasheed told the court that his arm hurt after police violently pushed him to the ground, but the three-judge bench brushed aside his complaints, only asking police to grant him treatment after the hearing.
Instead of taking him to hospital in Male, however, Nasheed was seen being taken away by boat to the nearby prison islet of Dhoonidhoo. His shirt buttons were missing and he appeared in pain throughout the brief hearing.
“The court ordered president Nasheed to be kept in police custody until the end of the trial,” said a spokeswoman for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Shauna Aminath.
The MDP has argued that his arrest on “trumped-up charges of terrorism” is an attempt to shut down growing opposition to the government of President Abdulla Yameen before a planned protest rally on Friday.
The Maldives is a major tourist attraction, but political unrest has dented its image as a peaceful island paradise in recent years — particularly since Nasheed’s February 2012 ousting in what he described as a coup.
International reaction to his arrest has so far been muted, but world powers America and Russia expressed concern over the “arrest and manhandling” of Nasheed.
“We are concerned at recent developments in the Maldives, including the arrest and manhandling of former president Nasheed and now opposition leader ,” the American foreign ministry said in a statement issued in Washington.
“We urge all concerned to calm the situation and resolve their differences within the constitutional and legal framework of Maldives.”
Britain’s junior foreign minister Hugo Swire said he was “very concerned”.
“UK watching closely. Urge calm and restraint on all sides,” Swire tweeted.Nasheed resigned as president in 2012 following a mutiny by police and troops that followed weeks of protest over Mohamed’s arrest.
Since his downfall, he has been plagued with court action over the judge’s arrest.