Former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin, who was arrested along with a judge last night on suspicion of involvement in issuing an “invalid” court order to arrest President Abdulla Yameen, has been released from police custody.
The criminal court decided at Muhsin’s remand hearing this afternoon that there were no legal grounds to hold him in remand detention.
However, the High Court extended the detention of Judge Ahmed Nihan from the Maamigili magistrate court to seven days. The 30-year-old was brought before the appellate court for remand extension as required by the Judges Act.
Muhsin was unavailable for comment as his phone was switched off at the time of publication.
The pair were arrested around midnight with court warrants, the police said this morning.
Chief Superintendent Mohamed Riyaz told the press yesterday that the magistrate court was opened at 3:00am on Sunday to prepare the “invalid” arrest warrant after a group of people went to the island from Malé.
Activists from an unnamed political party then tried to create the impression that the police were about to arrest the president, he said. Riyaz said the fake warrant contained information falsely attributed to the Maldives Police Service.
He also that said former President Mohamed Nasheed– who is currently in the UK on a 30-day medical leave from prison – had called a senior officer of the security services and encouraged him to enforce the arrest warrant.
The former president’s office said in a statement yesterday that the opposition leader had called Brigadier General Zakariyya Mansoor upon learning that a warrant has been issued for Yameen’s arrest.
Nasheed asked the senior military officer if he was aware of the warrant and “and advised him to follow the laws and the constitution of the country.”
“The Maldivian Democratic Party has received a large dossier of evidence implicating President Yameen, amongst other things, in corruption and money laundering amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars,” the former president’s office said.
“Furthermore, the media has revealed that President Yameen has been consulting a Sri Lankan practitioner of black magic before taking political decisions. The issue of concocting black magic is categorically forbidden in Islam In a situation where the president is obstructing the MPS and others from completing a proper investigation into these serious allegations, it is appropriate for the President to be taken into custody so that the investigation can proceed.”
The Supreme Court meanwhile issued a circular yesterday declaring that only the criminal court in Malé can issue arrest warrants for individuals residing in the capital.
The former PG was removed from his post on November 10 by the pro-government majority in parliament following reports that he was stalling bribery charges against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
Muhsin – a former criminal court judge – had overseen the controversial prosecutions of Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim last year. The pair’s imprisonment after rushed trials that drew widespread international condemnation triggered a prolonged political crisis in the Maldives.