Leader of Jumhooree Party (JP), Qasim Ibrahim was arrested on Thursday night.
Initially with the ruling coalition, Qasim joined the opposition in March, and played an active role in the no-confidence motion submitted against parliament speaker. While the vote did not go in favor of the opposition, with a number of opposition parliamentarians getting thrown out of the parliament chambers and the rest boycotting the vote, Qasim is accused of bribing lawmakers to get the result he wanted.
He is also accused of attempting to influence the no-confidence vote against the deputy speaker, tabled for April 11, as well as the security forces, and has been deemed as a threat to public safety.
Qasim last spoke to the public on Wednesday night, where he assured his commitment to the reform movement being carried out by the opposition.
Qasim, along with four key opposition figures- PPM's Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, MDP's Mohamed Nasheed and AP's Sheikh Imran Abdulla- formed an opposition coalition on March 24, agreeing to work together and jointly within the parliament and the political environment.
He has faced a number of criticism, over various other occasions, as he defected from the ruling side to the opposition, and back to the ruling side as soon as the government started using the various institutions against him.
This time seems different, with Qasim repeatedly saying that he remains steadfast in the work started by the opposition. His last few words to the public were "there is no guarantee that they will not arrest me tomorrow".
"There is no guarantee that I will get to meet with the press again," Qasim said concluding his talk at Wednesday's gathering, adding that the government has "put him in such a state" and that "there will be an end to this tyranny".
Following his arrest, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Jumhooree Party (JP) and Adhaalath Party (AP) passed to take to the streets to protest against Qasim's unlawful arrest.
MDP's leader, former President Mohamed Nasheed was one of the first to speak against the arrest, condemning it and calling to the public "to come out and protest".
Strongly condemn the arrest of JP leader Hon. Gasim Ibrahim. Urge all Maldivians to come out and protest.— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) April 6, 2017
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, leader of one faction of the divided PPM, expressed "shock" over Qasim's arrest, and called for his immediate release.
Shocked to learn that JP Leader Hon @qasimibrahim has been arrested. He must be released immediately. Rule of law must prevail.— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) April 6, 2017
Ex-Home Minister Umar Naseer has also called for Qasim's release, adding that his arrest shows that President Abdulla Yameen "has lost the political battle".
FREE Qasim now. This shows that RY has lost the political battle.— Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) April 6, 2017
In addition, residents of Maamigilli constituency, gathered in front of the island's police station to protest their parliament representative's arrest.
Qasim was taken to Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre, where his legal team was able to meet him. Defense lawyer Hisaan Hussain noted that the JP leader denies all the allegations against him.
More reactions to Qasim's arrest on social media:
JP leader Qasim Ibrahim minivan kurumah govaalai ihthijaaj kurumah, AP Mashvara majlihun mirey nimmavaifi.— Anara Naeem (@AnaraNaeem) April 6, 2017
I strongly condemn and denounce the wrongful arrest, detention and interrogation of JP Leader Hon. Qasim Ibrahim. #FreeQasim now.— ᗰᴏʜᴀᴍᴇᴅ ᗩᴍᴇᴇᴛʜ (@MohamedAmeeth) April 6, 2017
With Qasim Ibrahim's arrest, leaders of all opposition political parties are behind bars now. Cakewalk for @PresidentYAG in 2018 elections?— Husnu Al Suood (@hsuood) April 6, 2017
W/ arrest of Qasim,all opposition leaders arrested;shows Yameen's callous disdain for pol pluralism & fundamental rights Maldivians cherish.— Eva Abdulla (@evattey) April 6, 2017