Nasheed was not forced to step down: Maldives inquiry panel

Male: Maldives` former President Mohamed Nasheed was not ousted in a coup d`etat as claimed by him and the transfer of power was legal, an inquiry commission set up by government to look into the matter has said in its report released today, triggering protests from his supporters.

The change of the President on February 7 was "legal and constitutional," said the report compiled by the Commission of the National Inquiry (CONI).

The events that occurred on February 6 and 7 were, in large measure, "reactions to the actions" of 45-year-old Nasheed, who was the first democratically-elected President of Maldives, said the report, which was handed over to President Mohamed Waheed.

"The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will" and was "not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation," it said.

"There were acts of police brutality on 6, 7 and 8 February 2012 that must be investigated and pursued further by the relevant authorities," the executive summary of the 62- page report said.

With regard to the idea that there was a "coup d`etat", nothing in the Maldives changed in constitutional terms, the report, which was rejected by Nasheed, said.

The Constitution was precisely followed as prescribed and President Waheed properly succeeded Nasheed, it said.

The CONI findings have dealt a blow to Nasheed`s MDP party, which was banking on the commission to press ahead with its claims of illegitimacy on the part of Waheed`s administration. As soon as the report was released, Nasheed`s supporters resumed street protests.

The five-member Commission included Justice G P Selvam, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore; Sir Bruce Robertson from New Zealand and John Packer from Canada. It sat for over six months and interviewed 293 people.