Monday, 16 July 2018
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As Maldives crisis worsens, Nasheed returns to main stage

Sofian Khan

A decade after he swept to power in the Maldives’ first democratic elections, exiled opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed is again pushing for change by force if necessary as his island homeland spirals into crisis. Nasheed made history in 2008 when he defeated Maumoon Abdul Gayoom then Asia’s longest-serving leader after three decades of unchallenged rule.In the years that followed, the charismatic young president won international renown as a campaigner against climate change and the rising sea levels posing an existential threat to the low-lying Indian Ocean archipelago.But he fled into exile after he was convicted and jailed in 2015 on a terrorism charge widely seen as politically motivated. Now Nasheed, whose tumultuous life in prison and politics has earned comparisons to Nelson Mandela, is back in the global spotlight after a Supreme Court ruling that has plunged his homeland into chaos.He is calling for help to depose President Abdulla Yameen, whose refusal to comply with the court’s order to release high-profile political prisoners drew international censure.

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