Nasheed says party, daughter's exam preventing Maldives return

Self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on Wednesday downplayed the possibility of his arrest if he returned to the Maldives but said his party and a promise made to his daughter was preventing his long awaited return from exile.

Nasheed lives in self imposed exile most recently in Sri Lanka after he was allowed to leave to the UK on medical leave in an internationally brokered deal following his jailing on terrorism charges.

In an extensive interview with 'The Diplomat' Nasheed shed light on the fresh political strife in the archipelago following the Supreme Court order releasing him and eight other political prisoners on February 1.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared a state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

By Wednesday, prosecutors have got the country's criminal court to remand the suspects until the end of their respective trials which otherwise would have forced authorities to release them after the emergency state ended.

The most high-profile figures remanded until the end of the trial included former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed - all now formally charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Despite the 13 year prison sentence, Nasheed said he saw no reason why he should be arrested if he were to return to the Maldives.

"I don’t know if I would be taken to prison but apparently I do have a prison sentence on me. The Supreme Court has annulled it and released it on February 1 , and then the government has turned it around, and it has taken so many twist and turns," Nasheed explained.

"But seriously I can’t see why President Yameen should arrest me if I go back home."

Nasheed also was hopeful that president Yameen would "get tired of being strongman" and sit-down with the opposition to find an amicable resolution to the crisis.

When asked what was stopping his return to the Maldives if he was so confident that he would not be taken back to prison, Nasheed revealed that his party did not share his optimism while the promise he has made to his daughter was the major reason.

"I think my party is not completely allowing me to do that yet. They want to make sure that things are in place. And also I have my daughter’s O level exams in May, and I promised her that I’ll be around until she does her exams," he revealed.

Nasheed had ruled out his return to Maldives until May unless there was "another agreement" but insisted that he would come back.

"I will go back. I can’t live my rest of life in exile. I refuse to do that. Whatever the odds I’ll go back."