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Nasheed issues demands from Indian embassy

world Updated: Feb 14, 2013 13:02 IST
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Former Maldivian leader Mohamed Nasheed, who has taken refuge at the Indian embassy in the capital to evade arrest, has demanded the dropping of charges against 800 party workers, his spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Mariya Didi also said Nasheed wanted India to take a lead in securing an end to the political crisis in the Indian Ocean atoll nation of of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.

Nasheed insisted that "politically motivated" charges against over 800 Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists be dropped ahead of elections scheduled for September, Didi told AFP.

"We are asking all politically motivated charges including that against president Nasheed, MDP parliamentarians, MDP councillors, party officials and key party workers be dropped," she said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night from the besieged Indian diplomatic compound, Nasheed reiterated long-standing calls for his successor Mohamed Waheed to resign and allow a caretaker government to organise the elections.

"Waheed should do the right thing and resign from office," Nasheed said.

"An interim, caretaker government should be established that can lead the Maldives to genuinely free and fair elections, in which all candidates are freely able to compete."

Nasheed sought refuge at the Indian High Commission as police tried to execute a court order seeking his arrest for failing to turn up at his trial on Sunday. Nasheed had been visiting India at the time.

The new crisis comes amid political turbulence in the up market holiday destination a year after Nasheed, the nation's first democratically elected leader, was ousted by violent protests and a mutiny by police and security forces.

"Mindful of my own security and stability in the Indian Ocean, I have taken refuge at the Indian High Commission in Maldives," Nasheed wrote on Twitter a few hours after seeking safety in the embassy building on Wednesday.

Armed police have been standing outside diplomatic compound.

Nasheed has repeatedly claimed that his trial was a politically motivated attempt to prevent him from leading his Maldivian Democratic Party into polls in September. A conviction would disqualify him.