Former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and a judge at the Alif Dhaal Maamigili magistrate court have been arrested over a “fake” warrant issued for President Abdulla Yameen’s arrest.
The former PG and Judge Ahmed Nihan, 30, were taken into custody with arrest warrants around midnight, the police said. Both men are from the island of Maamendhoo in Gaaf Alif atoll.
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 urged him to “do things right.”
Yameen should be investigated over massive corruption, money laundering, and his employment of a Sri Lankan black magic practitioner as evidence of the alleged crimes were now available to the Maldivian people as well as the international community, the statement added.
Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party contends that Yameen’s involvement in the embezzlement of nearly US$80 million from the government-owned tourism company was omitted from a damning audit report on the Maldives’ biggest corruption scandal.
The opposition leader called on the security services to investigate the serious allegations and to arrest Yameen if it is necessary for the probe.
Assuring the public of efforts to save the country from “atrocities” committed by the president, Nasheed called on the police not to help Yameen “divert focus away from the serious cases, conceal the truth from the public, and hide and bury the cases”.
In his remarks at the opening of a new artificial beach in Malé last night, Yameen suggested that the arrest warrant was an attempt to overthrow the government.
“By God’s generous blessing, we have been able to resolve it. But it was an immense atrocity. The law does not allow attempting to overthrow a lawful government through any means,” he said.
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.