Jailed former President Mohamed Nasheed’s older brother has agreed to act as a guarantor during the opposition leader’s 30-day stay in the United Kingdom, after the government conceded to demands and waived criminal liability for the guarantor.
The Maldives Independent understands that the eleventh-hour concession follows a concerted lobbying effort by top diplomats from the UK, US, India and Sri Lanka.
In a tweet, Nasheed’s brother Ibrahim Nashid said he had signed an amended document at 5:00pm agreeing to pass information on Nasheed’s whereabouts to the government.
“The family refused to sign the hostage document,” he said.
Home Minister Umar Naseer has tweeted the last page of the agreement Nashid had signed, which states: “If the inmate absconds or disappears, the authorities must be informed without delay. If the inmate flees or absconds because of the actions of the guarantor, he or she must take responsibility.”
PNasheed has signed all the legal documents & his brother Ibrahim Nashid has signed as a Guarantor. pic.twitter.com/L3qlzq4Utv
— Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) January 18, 2016
Nasheed’s family is hoping to fly him out of the country tonight.
Maldives Correctional Services said Sunday that Nasheed’s travel documents are ready. Mohamed Husham, the commissioner general of prisons, said today Nasheed would be brought to the airport as soon as the family presents a ticket. Nasheed would not be brought to Malé, he added.
The former president’s lawyers said President Abdulla Yameen had promised Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Thursday that he would allow Nasheed to travel to the UK for a surgery on his backbone without conditions.
Nasheed had specifically asked that no family member should bear responsibility for him during the trip, lawyers said.
But on Sunday, Nasheed was told he would only be allowed 30 days and asked to nominate a family member who would act as a guarantor for the duration of the trip. The relative would be liable for criminal prosecution if they left Malé without the Maldives Correctional Service’s permission, according to the agreement.
This would effectively leave “the family member as a hostage who would have to remain in detention within Malé,” lawyers said.
Nasheed agreed to the 30-day period, but refused to allow a member of his family to sign the second document. “President Nasheed told members of his family that he was not prepared to put their freedom in jeopardy to secure his own.”
According to highly placed sources, Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon promised Hugo Swire, the UK’s minister of state for the foreign and Commonwealth office, this morning that the government would withdraw conditions for a guarantor.
But Naseer remained adamant, insisting that the family agreement was part of the standard procedure. He told popular daily Haveeru that no family member would be held liable for Nasheed’s return.
“If Nasheed flees, he will be prosecuted, not his family members.”
Naseer, who had last night accused Nasheed of tearing up document, went on to claim that the opposition leader spat on a prisons staff. Lawyers have denied both claims.
The home minister had also refused to meet Swire on Sunday, sources have said. The UK minister arrived in Malé on Sunday and left at noon today.
Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in jail on a terrorism charge. The UN has called his imprisonment politically motivated and illegal, and world leaders including UK Prime Minister David Cameron and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon have called for his immediate release.
An appeal of the terrorism conviction is now before the Supreme Court.
His lawyers are now pursuing targeted sanctions on regime officials and businessmen who back them, to secure his release. A confidential list of potential targets has now been delivered to the governments of the US and UK.