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Maldives commission rules former president's resignation was voluntary

A Maldives commission of inquiry concluded Thursday that former president Mohamed Nasheed's resignation and the transfer of power to current President Mohammed Waheed Hassan [official profile] were legal [report, PDF]. In its report, the Commission of National Inquiry (CONI) [official website] rejected claims by Nasheed that he was forced to resign at gunpoint, finding that he resigned of his own free will when he issued the announcement [JURIST report] in February after weeks of national protest. Protests erupted in the country after the military arrested the chief justice of the criminal court [JURIST report] for corruption charges associated with his order to release an opposition leader. Hassan in February appointed CONI to investigate the violence [JURIST report] accompanying his rise to power. The commission's report also concluded that acts of police brutality during the protests needs to be investigated further.

The arrest of the chief justice and the resulting unrest in Maldives sparked weeks of tension and unrest that drew international attention. A court in the Maldives last month refused to hear a case [JURIST report] about the illegal arrest of the chief justice against Nasheed, saying it does not have jurisdiction. Earlier that month the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claimed that press freedom in the country has been deteriorating [JURIST report] since Nasheed's resignation in February. In April the Maldives Police Service referred the case against Nasheed to the Prosecutor's General Office two months after an arrest warrant [JURIST reports] was issued for him. Nasheed has claimed that the arrest and charges against him were politically motivated. A group of Maldives lawyers in January asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to review the legality of the arrest of Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed [JURIST report]. During the same month, the Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs had asked [JURIST report] the UN to help them to resolve the unrest arising out of the arrest of the chief justice.

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