Ending his exile from the Maldives, the country’s Supreme Court Tuesday suspended a 13-year jail sentence handed to former President Mohamed Nasheed who now plans to return to Male as early as Thursday. Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who defeated President Abdulla Yameen in the recent elections, is expected to accompany Nasheed from Colombo to Male.
Speaking to The Indian Express from Colombo, Nasheed said it was “very satisfying” to hear the news of the suspension of his jail term. “I am going back to my country after three years to see a democracy that is showing signs of strength. Of course, this is a transition stage, it is a long process. But I would say that Maldives democracy is getting strengthened now,” he said.
Nasheed said Solih is expected to reach Colombo Wednesday. “Yes… I might travel with him. It is so happy to meet everyone after a long time, our leaders, party men. Moreover, mine is a typical South Asian family, a large extended family with a lot of relatives, so many uncles, cousins. I am happy I will meet all of them after a long time,” he said.
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In the absence of Nasheed and top Opposition leaders, who were either jailed or forced to flee the island nation after President Yameen came to power, it was Solih who coordinated and led the Opposition. In the Presidential poll held last month, Yameen conceded defeat to Solih after attempts to remain in power.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered the government, police and prison authorities to implement the suspension of Nasheed’s 13-year jail term.
The order followed a move Sunday by the Maldives prosecutor general’s office which asked the Supreme Court to review the conviction order against Nasheed. The order, based on an anti-terrorism law, had been passed against Nasheed for allegedly ordering the army to detain a top judge when he was President in 2012.