Former Maldives president sentenced to 13 years in prison

FMohamed Nasheed found guilty of terrorism for ordering the arrest of a judge

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. Photograph: AFP

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. Photograph: AFP

 

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, after being found guilty of terrorism for ordering the arrest of a judge when he was in power in 2012.

The three-judge bench’s verdict was unanimous.

“The prosecution’s evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nasheed ordered the chief judge’s arrest or forceful abduction and detention on Girifushi island,” Judge Abdulla Didi said in the court in the capital, Male.

An official in the office of President Abdulla Yameen confirmed the 13-year sentence.

Hundreds of Nasheed’s supporters, some waving “Free Nasheed” posters, had gathered outside the courtroom ahead of the sentencing, triggering concern about possible clashes after weeks of rising tension.

Countries including India had expressed concern about the trial and treatment of Nasheed, the Indian Ocean archipelago’s first democratically elected leader.

In a statement in court, Nasheed urged his supporters to come out on to the streets in protest, according to a text released by his office. “I appeal to all of you today to stay courageous and strong, to confront the dictatorial power of this regime, to change this government and work towards forming a government that would pave the way for the people’s development and prosperity,” he said, according to the text, released after his sentencing.

The arrest of the judge triggered a crisis in which Nasheed has said he was forced to resign at gunpoint. His allies say he was ousted in a coup.

Yameen became president in November 2013 in an election whose second-round runoff was cancelled when early results put Nasheed ahead.

When the second round was re-run, Nasheed lost by a narrow margin and conceded defeat.