Monday, 18 January 2016 - 20:11
Maldives demands 'hostage' before ex-president can have surgery in UK
The jailed Maldivian opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed had his permission to travel abroad for surgery scuttled at the last minute as the authorities demanded a “hostage” in his place, his party said.
“The government backtracks on their decision to unconditionally allow (former) president Nasheed to travel to UK for surgery,” a Maldivian Democratic party spokesman, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, said on Sunday.
He said the government had insisted on the nomination of a family member to act as a guarantee for his return, after 30 days of treatment in Britain, to serve his 13-year jail term. The guarantor would be a hostage who could be prosecuted if Nasheed did not return, he said.
“It is an ethical issue. That is why President Nasheed has not agreed to the demand of a guarantor,” he added.
The sudden development came hours after the country’s prisons chief, Mohamed Husham, announced that Nasheed had been granted 30 days leave from prison for spinal cord surgery and was expected to leave later Sunday.