Maldives Vice President Ashamed By Judge's Arrest

Published January 21, 2012 4:27PM (EST)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — The Maldives vice president said Saturday he is "shameful and totally devastated" that the government in which he is a member has arrested a criminal court judge in violation of his freedom from arbitrary arrest.

In a clear indication of divisions within President Mohamed Nasheed's government, his deputy Mohammed Waheed Hassan blogged that he wondered if the struggles that freed the nation from a 30-year autocracy had been wasted.

"The most important and most precious dividend from the democracy struggle in Maldives has been freedom from fear. It is the knowledge that no one of us will be dragged out of our beds in the middle of the night and taken to an undisclosed location," Waheed wrote.

"The moment we deny this freedom from one person, we deny that freedom for all."

The military arrested Criminal Court Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed on Monday after he ordered the release of a government critic detained without a warrant. He is still being held on an island the military uses for training in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

The country's Supreme Court and the prosecutor general have called for his release and the arrest has triggered street protests. The government accuses the judge of corruption and political bias.

Both Nasheed and Waheed were leading pro-democracy campaigners before being elected to office in the country's first multiparty election in 2008.

"We have just witnessed the first possible violation since the dawn of democracy in our country. I cannot understand why this is not an issue for everyone in this country," he said, adding that the country's youth and the educated are not taking an interest on the issue.

By Salon Staff

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