MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the minority leader of parliament, was questioned by the police Wednesday night about a disputed document commuting former President Mohamed Nasheed’s 13-year jail term to house arrest in June 2015.
Solih, the parliamentary group leader of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, was questioned about a letter provided to Nasheed by the Maldives Correctional Services that confirmed his transfer to house arrest for the remainder of his sentence.
After about three hours at the police headquarters, Solih told the press that he was named in a statement given for the police investigation by jailed former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
“I was questioned over what Adeeb had said in his statement,” he said, adding that it would not be appropriate to reveal details.
Nasheed’s lawyers had contended at the time that his re-imprisonment on August 23 last year was illegal as the government had commuted his sentence amid talks on political reconciliation.
But the government claimed the MCS document was forged despite Nasheed’s lawyers confirming its authenticity through a forensic analysis conducted overseas.
In January this year, Adeeb’s lawyers said that the MCS document was delivered to Nasheed on the orders of President Abdulla Yameen.
“[Adeeb] confirms that the document was issued in accordance with set procedures and wishes to assert that he had no role in disputing its authenticity,” the lawyers said in a statement.
But the government dismissed the claim as baseless.
The police meanwhile also attempted to summon Ahmed ‘Kerafa’ Naseem for questioning over the disputed document. But the former foreign minister presently resides in Sri Lanka.
He is also the shadow foreign minister of the Maldives United Opposition.
In a statement yesterday, Nasheed’s secretariat called the police summons for Solih “unacceptable,” accusing the police of dragging out the investigation for “political purposes”.
“The police have already taken statements from [Nasheed]’s wife, lawyers and other individuals who were present at Maafannu Yaagoothuge when the document was handed over,” it added.
“Further, President Nasheed himself has been questioned. The CCTV of Maafanu Yaagoothuge along with the investigative report of the document compiled by external parties have also been handed over to the police.”
Nasheed was granted asylum in the UK last May after he was authorised to travel for medical treatment.
The former president was found guilty of terrorism in March 2015 over the military’s detention of a judge, a widely condemned conviction that a UN human rights panel later ruled was illegal and politically motivated.
On June 3, Nasheed launched the Maldives United Opposition along with other opposition leaders in exile. The coalition is working towards removing Yameen from power and forming an interim government ahead of the 2018 presidential election.
The police summons for the minority leader came amidst an escalation of the MUO’s activities.
Several opposition figures have also been summoned for questioning since the MUO’s first rally on July 21. During the past two weeks, the police have confiscated the phones of two opposition MPs and three MUO cabinet ministers.