Ex-Maldives president receives death threat from extremists while in Britain, fears for life

COLOMBO (AFP) - Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed feared for his life after receiving a death threat from Islamist extremists while visiting Britain, his office said on Sunday.

The former leader, who was toppled in what he claimed was a coup backed by Islamic radicals in February 2012, received the latest death threat while attending last week's Conservative Party convention. "This threat is one of a line of threats from Islamist extremists," his office said in a statement.

It said the telephoned threat followed an attack on the headquarters of his Maldivian Democratic Party as well as his home in the 2 sq km Maldivian capital island of Male.

"Nasheed has reiterated his concerns of growing fundamentalism and intolerance in the Maldives and more recently an attempt by Islamists to use criminal gangs to pursue crimes of this nature," the statement said. It accused Maldivian police of failing to crack down on violence linked to religious extremists.

Mr Nasheed's office said Britain's Metropolitan Police were investigating his complaint.

Maldives is known for pristine beaches and secluded coral islands popular with honeymooners, but the nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims is also plagued with rising religious intolerance.