Nasheed urges Modi visit to ‘disentangle Maldives mess’

Nasheed urges Modi visit to ‘disentangle Maldives mess’
October 20 13:30 2015

Jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the Maldives to “disentangle us from the mess we are in,” according to his lawyers.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Nasheed’s lawyers, who have relatively regular access to him in prison, said Nasheed believed Modi has the tact to end the stalemate in the Maldives.

Nasheed’s jailing in February triggered mass protests across the country. Modi dropped the Maldives from an Indian Ocean tour in March. Relations appear to be thawing with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit earlier this month.

The government has said it’s invitation for Modi to visit remains open.

The political crisis, however, has deepened by an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat. The blast was an assassination attempt, officials have said.

Ministers and ruling party MPs are preoccupied with the probe into the blast and an apparent struggle for influence in the country’s top leadership, while Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has scaled up its street activities.

Nasheed’s lawyer Hassan Latheef said the opposition leader believes India’s political pragmatism will not allow it to miss the opportunity in the Maldives now. Yameen’s close ties with China had stoked fears in New Delhi over its rival’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean.

Nasheed also reportedly spoke of the MDP’s ties with India:

India has not made any public statements on Nasheed’s case since his conviction in March or after a UN human rights panel ruled his imprisonment arbitrary.

India’s ruling BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy earlier this month called on Modi to send a special envoy to Maldives to secure Nasheed’s release. He described Nasheed’s trial as “politically biased, inadequate and subject to external influence.”

The government says Nasheed is convicted of a serious criminal offense, and says the Supreme Court must decide on his imprisonment.