Jailed ex-pres flies to Sri Lanka for Maldives crisis talks

epaselect epa05120096 Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed (L) and British lawyer Amal Clooney (R) leave after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 23 January 2016. The former president of the Maldives has been granted temporary release from prison to fly to Britain for surgery.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed (L) and British lawyer Amal Clooney (R) leave after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 23 January 2016. EPA/ANDY RAIN

Jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed currently living in exile in Britain has flown to neighbouring Sri Lanka for Maldives crisis talks, Mihaaru understands.

Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison on controversial terrorism charges last year but was allowed to travel to Britain for surgery in January and granted political asylum in May.

According to reliable sources, Nasheed has flown to Sri Lanka to take part in ‘an important sit-down over the present crisis in the Maldives.’

Details of the meeting remain sketchy as neither the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) nor the recently formed opposition alliance confirmed Nasheed’s visit to Sri Lanka.

However, reports indicate that former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who heads the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) would also join the talks in Sri Lanka.

Jameel had fled to the UK last July, days before he was impeached in a controversial vote which was alleged to have been orchestrated by his eventual successor Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor who himself was impeached following a blast aboard the presidential speedboat.

Adheeb has now been convicted and sentenced to prison for orchestrating the blast, now confirmed as a plot to kill the president.

The newly formed opposition alliance had vowed to oust incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and form an interim government to ensure free and fair elections scheduled in 2018.

Five rival opposition groups had announced a united front to remove president Yameen from office.

The MUO brings together the MDP, the Adhaalath Party, two of Yameen’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

Meanwhile, Britain has granted political asylum to three more political leaders in self imposed exile including Jameel.

In addition to Jameel, Mihaaru had found that Britain has granted political refugee status to MDP chairperson Ali Waheed and deputy Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Ameen Ibrahim.

The trio along with their families have been given asylum under the UN refugee agency policy.

Mihaaru has been unable to obtain an official confirmation from either governments thus far.

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