Maldives’ former President Mohamed Nasheed is set to return home on Thursday after two years in self-imposed exile, an official said today.
Mr Nasheed, chief of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), is scheduled to fly in from Colombo with his wife Laila Ali and President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih later in the day, reports news agency Efe.
MDP leader Imthiyaz Fahmy said security had been beefed up across the country for events that Mr Nasheed was due to attend today and November 3.
“The Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defence Force have agreed to handle security,” he said.
Mr Nasheed is expected to travel on a speedboat from the airport island of Hulhule to the capital, along with a fleet of boats with dozens of supporters.
Mr Nasheed, who had announced that he will return to the Maldives on November 1 after the opposition, led by the MDP, registered a surprise victory in elections held in September, is also scheduled to travel to Addu city on November 3 to meet his supporters.
Mr Nasheed, the first democratically elected President of the country, was forced to resign in 2012 and was sentenced three years later for the illegal detention of a judge during his term in a controversial trial.
In September, the opposition, led by Solih, defeated President Abdulla Yameen, paving the way for the return of Mr Nasheed, who was barred from contesting the elections.
Following Solih’s victory, courts in Maldives have freed former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and other political prisoners, most of whom were arrested on terrorism charges during a political crisis in February despite the Supreme court annulling the conviction of opposition leaders, including that of Mr Nasheed.
The Maldives Supreme Court on October 31 had stayed Mr Nasheed’s 13-year jail sentence, allowing him to return to the country.