Maldives jailed ex-prez Nasheed allowed UK treatment: govt

Maldives jailed ex-prez Nasheed allowed UK treatment: govt

Maldives jailed ex-prez Nasheed allowed UK treatment: govt

Maldives' former president Mohamed Nasheed, serving a 13-year jail sentence on terror charges, has been granted permission to travel to UK for surgery, government announced today.

"The government of Maldives has granted permission to former president Nasheed to travel to UK to undergo surgery, at his request," the foreign ministry said on its official Twitter account.

Nasheed, 48, had sought permission to travel abroad for a surgery on his back, but the government had repeatedly denied the request insisting that the surgery could be done in the Maldives.

His lawyers had, however, rejected the government's claim that the surgery was available at the private ADK Hospital in capital Male.

The authority had said it could only allow Nasheed to travel abroad for medical treatment after consultation with a specialist, Haveeru Online reported.

Home Minister Umar Naseer had said that the doctor had recommended microdiscectomy for Nasheed and that the surgery is available in the Maldives.

Nasheed, the country's first democratically elected leader, was sentenced to 13 years in jail in March over the arbitrary arrest of chief criminal judge Abdullah Muhammed during his presidency.

He resigned as the Maldives' leader in February 2012 after weeks of protests over the judge's arrest on corruption allegations. The former president had appealed his prison sentence after backtracking on his earlier decision and opted to go to the Supreme Court instead.

In his appeal, Nasheed had sought a lesser penalty under the new penal code that came into effect in November. The Supreme Court had also been asked to nullify the charges lodged against him in the lower court and the subsequent sentence.

India, the US and the European Union had all expressed concern over Nasheed's imprisonment and conviction. His conviction drew widespread criticism over the apparent lack of due process in the 19-day trial.