Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyer Mahfooz Saeed will fly to Sri Lanka tonight for further treatment for a stab wound.
“Mahfooz is stable. He is now able to speak and walk. But we want to consult specialist doctors,” said a family member.
Mahfooz was stabbed by two men on a busy street in broad daylight in Malé on Friday. The 26-year-old narrowly suruvived the life-threatening attack after undergoing surgery to remove the knife, lodged three and a half inches deep above his left ear.
President Abdulla Yameen has condemned the attack while Home Minister Umar Naseer has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The police have said that an investigation is underway, but no arrests have been made.
Several opposition MPs have meanwhile received death threats shortly after the stabbing, saying they will be killed “like Mahfooz” if they do not vote against new anti-terrorism legislation currently before parliament.
The stabbing also came days before Nasheed’s high-profile international lawyers, Jared Genser and Amal Clooney, were due to arrive in the Maldives to visit the opposition leader in jail.
Clooney arrived today and Genser will arrive in Malé tomorrow.
In a statement on Friday night, Amnesty International had called on the Maldivian authorities to conduct a “a full, impartial and independent investigation” and to ensure that human rights defenders can work free from fear of reprisals.
“Political tensions in Maldives are running high, and there is a climate of fear spreading among opposition supporters and human rights defenders, as the human rights situation has deteriorated over the past two years. Maldivian authorities must send a clear message that these attacks are not tolerated – impunity will only foster intimidation and violence,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives researcher.
The MDP had meanwhile said in the wake of the attack that the party believes the “murder attempt” was planned in advance, noting that Mahfooz had spoken at the party’s rally on August 27, a week before the stabbing.
Mahfooz had severely criticised the government and called on opposition supporters to come out for a “war against the government.”
Hours before the attack, Mahfooz also accompanied an MDP national council member to the police station following a summons for questioning over weekly prayers for Nasheed outside the Islamic centre after Friday prayers.
“The [party] believes the reason such dangerous attacks are made in broad daylight without any hesitation is because the perpetrators of these atrocities are certain that they will not be found and brought to trial,” the MDP said.