The Maldives Correctional Service says it needs additional documents to extend former President Mohamed Nasheed’s 30-day leave from prison.
The MCS medical board “has rejected the application as it is now, but has decided to extend a further opportunity to submit required papers,” said Mohamed Husham, the Commissioner General of Prison.
Nasheed, who was sentenced to 13 years in a trial labeled politically motivated by UN human rights experts, was granted 30 days of leave for a back surgery in an internationally brokered deal. He has requested an additional 60 days.
He was sentenced over the military detention of a judge during his tenure.
Today marks the anniversary of the opposition leader’s arrest.
An MCS official said additional documents on the expected duration of medical leave and details of care Nasheed has received so far is required.
The MCS’ medical board has also questioned the validity of documents submitted so far, the official said, claiming there was no official hospital stamps on papers and that emails had been submitted from private accounts.
Nasheed’s lawyer Ibrahim Riffath said: “We are ready to submit any additional documentation required by the MCS.” He declined to comment further.
Prison doctors had recommended Nasheed undergo a surgery to correct slipped discs, but his lawyers have said he prefers physical therapy and had controlled chronic back pain with regular exercise.
Doctors have said it may take up to six months for a full recovery, lawyers said.
The Maldivian Democratic Party, in a statement to mark the anniversary of Nasheed’s jailing, described it as an attempt to silence dissent. Over the past year, President Abdulla Yameen had “mobilised the state to eliminate President Nasheed, the MDP and opposition voices,” it added.
Yameen, whose government has been besieged by multiple crises, including the arrest of his deputy following a mysterious explosion on his boat in September and massive corruption, is facing international pressure to begin dialogue.
An invitation for all-party talks has been extended.
Since his arrival in the UK, Nasheed has urged foreign governments to place targeted sanctions on top government officials. He met with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, and appeared on CNN, BBC and Channel 4 to talk about his imprisonment, and the recruitment of Maldivians by extremist groups.
Criticising Nasheed’s media blitz, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon had said that the former president’s “primary goal was to court publicity in the United Kingdom.”
“This is not medical leave, but media leave,” she said.
But Nasheed told the British press that his medical condition is “serious” as he has to undergo surgery to correct slipped discs in his spine.
“In my 20s, I was tortured twice by the Gayoom regime. So I have chronic back problem,” he said, referring to long periods in prison during the 30-year reign of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – Dunya’s father and half-brother of the incumbent president.
Nasheed also said that he intends to the return to the Maldives and challenge Yameen in the 2018 presidential election. But the opposition leader will only be able to contest the election if the apex court overturns his terrorism conviction.
The Supreme Court began hearings in the state’s appeal of Nasheed’s conviction on February 3.