Nasheed remains in Indian Mission in Male for fourth day

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed remained holed up in the Indian Mission here for the fourth day in a row even as the country's judicial watchdog accused Indian High Commissioner D M Mullay of interfering in judicial process.

Nasheed has remained at the High Commission since Wednesday, when he took refuge there to evade getting arrested for failing to appear in court last weekend to face charges of abuse of power while he was President.

Official sources said the situation has not "changed much" since the Foreign Ministers of the two countries spoke on Thursday.

Asked if the High Commission was in talks with the Maldivian government to sort out the situation, sources said talks have been on at an informal level as the mission was closed for two days for holidays and will reopen tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a watchdog responsible for the administration of the justice system here, accused Mullay of meddling in local politics, a charge described by Indian official as "totally absurd".

"We regret the interference of the High Commissioner of India in Maldives in his personal capacity with the judicial process of the Maldives," the JSC said in a statement.

It said the Indian envoy was "impeding the due process of the law" by "keeping" Nasheed within the diplomatic compound.

India has already rejected Maldivian charge that it was undermining its democratic institutions, saying it has no intention to interfere in its internal affairs.

Nasheed and his party have maintained that the charges – of illegally detaining Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed prior to his controversial resignation on February 7, 2012 – are a politically-motivated attempt to prevent him from contesting presidential elections scheduled for later this year.

The UN, US, UK and now the EU and the Commonwealth have joined India in urging restraint on both sides, and "inclusive" elections in September.

In response to the international statements, the Maldives' Foreign Ministry issued a statement emphasising that the political situation remained "calm and normal", "and does not warrant other countries and international organisations to issue statements characterising the situation in any other light", the Minivan News reported.

The Foreign Ministry insisted that the judiciary and prosecutor general were independent, and said the court case against Nasheed "would have thus proceeded, and be where it is today, even if Mr Nasheed remained as president".

"The government also has full faith in the ability of the Independent Elections Commission to decide the eligibility of various candidates contesting the elections and in organising the electoral process in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Maldives," the statement added.

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