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US urges Maldives to release Nasheed

US urges Maldives to release Nasheed

COLOMBO: The United States pressed the Maldives on Wednesday to release former leader Mohamed Nasheed after he was returned to prison despite anorder commuting his 13-year term to house arrest.

US assistant secretary for South Asia Nisha Biswal said Washington was concerned about a move away from democracy in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular tourist destination.

Her comments echoed a call by the United Nations on Tuesday for Nasheed’s early release.

“It is a concern to us that rather than strengthening democratic institutions and processes, the government of Maldives seems to be moving away,” Biswal said while on a visit to neighbouring Sri Lanka.

“We have called upon the government of the Maldives to respect due process."

Police and prison officials clashed with supporters of Nasheed as they removed him from his home in the capital Male and took him to the high-security prison island of Maafushi on Sunday night.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015

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