President Abdulla Yameen has ordered police to arrest his nephew, MP Faris Maumoon, just days after his release from custody.
Ibrahim Muaz, a spokesman for the president’s office, said on Twitter that Yameen told police to implement a court order for his arrest.
His family and opposition figures expressed concern as the MP’s supporters gathered outside his home in the capital.
Police are searching his apartment through two court warrants that were signed by a judge who was appointed to court on Thursday.
His sister Yumna had expressed concern earlier in the day. “Just received news that a new warrant has been issued to arrest MP @farismaumoon again. He was released by the Criminal Court only 2 days ago after 6 months in arbitrary detention. This is pure harassment,” she said.
She later tweeted that police were at her father’s home with a search warrant.
Former president Mohamed Nasheed said: “Police, security forces and courts must not allow the arrest of MP @farismaumoon again, police must take measures against those trying to arrest Faris.”
In an interview with ANI on Friday, Faris said he was facing imminent arrest.
“Just two days back, I was released after six months of detention, no evidence was produced. I suspect they are again going to arrest me on fabricated charges as they want to silence the opposition,” he said.
There was speculation on social media that the police commissioner was going to resign in protest over attempts to arrest Faris.
“I met CP (Ahmed) Areef today. Areef said that influential government officials were calling him and repeatedly telling him to issue arrest warrants. The president himself is calling and telling him to arrest me,” Faris said.
But police denied that a meeting took place between Areef and Faris, who reportedly live in the same building.
Faris told reporters on Thursday that Maldivians were suffering unjustly for their political work.
“So I want to call for their release. Free Sheikh Imran. Free president Mohamed Nasheed. Free Gasim Ibrahim. Free Nazim. Everyone must be ensured the rights guaranteed under the Maldivian constitution,” he said.
All opposition leaders, aside from Faris’s father, are either in prison or exile as the Maldives prepares for this year’s presidential polls.