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Mass protest in Maldives over ex-leader's arrest

28 February 2015, 08:34

Male - Thousands of supporters of former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed marched in the honeymoon islands' tiny capital on Friday to protest his detention on terror charges, which sparked international condemnation.

Although the rally was not scheduled to start until the evening, crowds began streaming into Male from early on Friday, fuelled by news that Nasheed had been given just three days to prepare his defence during his latest court appearance.

His lawyers also said Nasheed had been denied access to his defence team as he was brought before the court on Thursday on charges which date back to his sacking of one of the islands' top judges to the time he was president.

Also Read: Teenager tests Maldives death penalty revival

Supporters of the Jumhooree Party, former ally of President Abdulla Yameen, also joined the opposition rally to express solidarity with their one-time rival Nasheed.

Medical treatment

Nasheed was arrested on Sunday and charged with terrorism over the detention of criminal court judge Abdullah Mohamed in 2012, when he was still president.

The United States and regional power India have voiced concern over the charges, which carry a jail sentence of more than 10 years, and the manner in which Nasheed was dragged roughly into court on Monday and denied both legal access and medical treatment.

The dramatic arrest came amid growing opposition to the government of President Yameen, whose spokesperson on Tuesday denied that the move to prosecute Nasheed was politically motivated.



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