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#Maldives: Sexual abuse, assassination attempts, military coup - which of Nasheed's allegations are Maldivians to believe?

Male', Maldives.
More tarnishing of the Maldives international image as the sunny side of life continues as Mohamed Nasheed continues to lead his party Maldives Democratic Party to violence and civil disobedience. Nasheed, who resigned on February 7th, last night called upon his supporters for civil disobedience and violence until his successor, his former Vice President Mohamed Waheed stepped down from his post. On February 8th, Nasheed led violent street riots in Male', while his supporters on some islands rampaged through the communities vandalizing and burning down public and private property.

Speaking to the party faithful in Male' last night, Nasheed alleged that the Defence Forces had always been plotting his assassination and had assisted Dr. Waheed to bring about a military coup.

Nasheed further alleged that the police officers who extricated him from his party's street riots on February 8th, had sexually abused him when they first interacted with him that day. He told the MDP meeting that the police officers had grabbed his private parts and that he had protested this, saying "I don't have such sexual leanings". However, amateur video footage of the incident aired on local and international channels do not show video evidence nor provide audio evidence of sexual allegation.

Although the exact moment of Police officers meeting Nasheed is not seen in the video, the video provides full audio of the incident from the moment the police enter the shop in which Nasheed was hiding to the moment of that they escort Nasheed down the street. There is no audio of Nasheed protesting such an incident nor uttering the words he claimed he did.

Nasheed's new allegations of assassination attempts and sexual abuse by security forces came at the same time that the UN reiterated its recognition of the Waheed government and ruled out any possibility of a foreign investigation of Nasheed's coup allegations.

“There needs to be a credible and independent investigation by a national mechanism into the developments of the past weeks, and the events that led up to them.” said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, UN Assistant Secretary-General at a press conference in Male' last night.

“There is an urgent need for all sides concerned to come to an agreement on forming a government, based on the principle of inclusiveness and national unity, and reach a consensus on the way forward,” he underlined.

In addition to the UN, the US and India have recognized the new government and also categorically ruled any foreign investigation into Nasheed's allegations.

The Commonwealth stands alone on the issue by determining on February 12th to send a ministerial mission to visit Maldives urgently "to ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power, and to promote adherence to Commonwealth values and principles".

President Waheed earlier this week swiftly agreed to Nasheed's call for an independent investigation into his coup allegations. However, he has remained silent over Nasheed's demand that the investigation be an external one. He has also maintained silence on the mechanisms of an investigation, throwing into doubt his earlier denial of any involvement in a coup.

Public support for an independent investigation is building, fuelled by statements by opposition politician Umar Naseer on Sunday that he had been the "Commander" of the "operation" which removed Nasheed from office. An ex-military officer, Umar Naseer claimed that, on the night of February 6th, he had been in his "command centre" leading the operation. He said that he had called Nasheed and his closest advisors and had categorically told them to accept defeat or "Nasheed's life was in danger". Umar Naseer made these statement at the first rally of Gayoom's Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), of which Naseer is Interim Deputy Leader.

A week after his resignation address on public TV, Nasheed has still not lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court his charges that he was held at gunpoint by military and forced to resign. The Maldives Constitution gives the Supreme Court the jurisdiction to make final judgement on disputes over the Presidency and other constitutional issues.

Instead of seeking justice for alleged crimes against him, Nasheed continues to take MDP down a radical path of confrontation and violence. Nasheed's inflammatory allegations against the new Government and police have sparked fresh attacks on police officers and civilians supporting other parties. His call for civil disobedience puts into further doubt an early resolution of the current conflict, a state of play that the vulnerable Maldivian economy can ill afford.

Meantime, President Waheed has reiterated his requests for Nasheed to join him in a national unity government. Five cabinet posts, including the key posts of Finance Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, have been left open in the hope that MDP would join the unity government. All other parties have pledged support for the Waheed Government, and some have already taken posts in the new cabinet.

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