Nasheed rejects police summons

Male: A defiant Mohammad Nasheed has rejected a police summons to record his statement on his controversial order to arrest a top judge when he was President, amid claims by his party that he still enjoyed Maldivians` support as he was not a dictator like Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.

44-year-old Nasheed "will not speak to the police," which had sought his statement in connection with its probe into his order to the military to arrest a judge, that had led to street protests culminating in his resignation, sources close to the ousted President said today.

Police had said on Tuesday that Nasheed, who claims that he was forced to step down, was not cooperating with them. Meanwhile, Nasheed met a EU delegation here today and sought its support for his demand for early elections in the country. "We want a mandate from the people as soon as possible. We want to go for elections as soon as possible," Maria Didi, an MP from Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), told reporters after the former President`s meeting with the EU delegation.

Asked what the EU delegation`s views were about early polls, she responded, "They said there are indications from other parties also for an early election. We hope that we are able to pull this." She said not everybody wants the status quo to remain till 2013, when the polls are scheduled to take place.

"I don`t know why they (the current regime) are not going to people if they believe they are a result of popular uprising. We don`t see Nasheed as Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein or like Hosni Mubarak. He is walking around, he is free, his people are with him. We hope they will be brave enough to go for people`s mandate and show what they are saying is right," Didi said.

Nasheed, the country`s first democratically-elected President, had resigned last week and 59-year-old Mohammed Waheed Hassan, his deputy, assumed charge in his place. In a statement, the EU office in Colombo yesterday noted with concern the ongoing political tensions here and urged all sides to exercise restraint.

"There must be an end to violence and no political retribution. In this regard we note the large political rally being planned (by Nasheed`s party) for Friday, 17th February, and urge all sides to do everything possible to ensure that this takes place in a peaceful and lawful manner.

"Acts of provocation on the part of participants or the use of excessive force by law enforcement agencies would be completely unacceptable at this point," it had said. The MDP`s planned rally on February 17 is coinciding with the Commonwealth ministerial mission`s arrival here to "ascertain the facts surrounding the transfer of power" in Maldives.