The Commonwealth Observer

Mauritius past prez roughed up, injured by police as he entered courthouse

Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

This is how you encourage a Mauritius past president to enter courtroom for his trial?

Police officers roughed up Mauritius past president Mohamed Nasheed on the way into the Criminal Court last month and when he got there he won little sympathy before the judge. Nasheed had stopped to talk to reporters when officers grabbed him, took him to the ground and dragged him into the compound.

In New Delhi, commenting after the incident, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said in New Delhi “the government are concerned over recent developments … including the arrest and manhandling of former president Nasheed,”

Nasheed had asked several times for the police to allow him to walk into the court unhindered, but police dragged him across the pavement, ripping his clothes in the process and leaving him visibly hurt. In the courtroom his arm was wrapped in his tie as a makeshift sling, and the buttons of his shirt had been ripped off. Nasheed repeatedly asked Judge Abdulla Didi to allow him access to medical treatment. But the judge refused.

His legal team was barred from entering court.  Outcome of the hearing: Nasheed was ordered to be kept in prison until the end of his trial, and he was returned to Dhoonidhoo Island Detention Centre.

His lawyer, Hisaan Husseinsaid police behavior “was absolutely disgraceful. No Maldivian citizen should be treated in this manner, let alone a former Head of State. This ugly, politically-motivated trial brings shame on President Mohammed Waheed Hassan and his increasingly thuggish regime.”

One of the founders of the Maldivian Democratic Party, Nasheed won election and served for four years from 2008-2012. Tense relationships between the two men led to Nasheed to say he was forced our of office at gunpoint after a coup.

Nasheed had been charged with terrorism for detaining the then Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed three years ago, when he was president of Maldives.

—Sources: Deccan Herald,

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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