Maldives probe criticised by Commonwealth watchdog

Police clash with the military during protests in the Maldives on 7 February 2012 Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed's resignation came after police joined protesters

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The Commonwealth's rights watchdog has criticised an inquiry set up by the Maldives to investigate an alleged coup as "neither independent or impartial".

The watchdog, which has already suspended the Maldives, threatened to take further measures if the commission does not change within four weeks.

The inquiry is tasked with investigating events leading to the transfer of power in February.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed claims he was removed from office by force.

Mr Nasheed alleges President Mohamed Waheed Hussein Manik, his former vice-president, conspired with the opposition and military to oust him. Mr Waheed denies the charge.

In its report, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), a nine-strong group of foreign ministers which investigates human rights and democracy issues, also reiterated its call for Mr Waheed's government to hold polls before the end of 2012.

Mr Waheed has previously agreed to put his government to a vote, but said that the conditions were not yet right for polls to be held.

But earlier this week, the government said victories in two by-elections gave it a mandate to keep governing until the end of 2013, when the next polls are scheduled.

The by-elections were called after the disqualification of two MPs by the country's highest court in the weeks after Mr Waheed came to power.

The Commonwealth is an association of 54 countries which has its roots in the former British Empire.

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