Nasheed will return a free man, insists party

Self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed will return to the Maldives on November 1 a free man, his party insisted Monday.

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.

He was sentenced to 13 years in prison over the arbitrary arrest and subsequent detention of a sitting judge while he was president.

Nasheed's return was announced days after after the opposition alliance secured a surprise victory in last month's presidential elections.

Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Hassan Latheef while briefing local media on the planned celebrations to mark the former president's return, downplayed reports that he would be arrested immediately after he lands.

Latheef pointed out that several international organizations including the United Nations (UN) had denounced Nasheed's jailing on serious flaws with violations of his right to a fair trial.

"Nasheed is already a free man. He would not face any restrictions on his political and civic rights when he returns on November 1," Latheef insisted.

Latheef also said MDP was in dialogue with relevant international bodies to ensure that Nasheed would not be arrested on his return.

Despite Latheef's comments, the country's Supreme Court had upheld Nasheed's conviction which is yet to be overturned.

MDP has planned celebrations throughout the Maldives to welcome Nasheed back to the country.