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Former Maldivian president Nasheed arrested

October 08, 2012 18:55 IST

In a dramatic turn of events, Maldivian police on Monday arrested former President Mohamed Nasheed after he twice failed to appear before a court to face charges of abuse of power while in office.

Wearing gas masks and riot gear, armed police stormed a house on Fares-Mathoda in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll, breaking down the door, and took into custody Nasheed, who not had only refused to appear in court but had also ignored a travel ban restricting his movement only to Male.

The police move follows the Hulhumale Magistrate Court on Sunday issuing a warrant for Nasheed's arrest and presentation in court on Tuesday.

The court ordered Nasheed's arrest after he questioned legitimacy of a special court to try him on charges of abuse of power.

He is facing charges of power abuse over the arrest and subsequent detention of Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed during his last days in office.

45-year-old Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Indian Ocean archipelago, was forced to resign in February following protests.

The ex-president was today escorted by at least a dozen officers and was taken away by boat to the capital Male.

President Mohamed Waheed's media secretary Masood Imad said that he had been informed that despite allegations raised by the Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) concerning alleged use of excessive force, police authorities had insisted that officers had acted with restraint.

"I'm told (Nasheed) asked for a box of cigarettes, a request that (officers) granted," Masood was quoted as saying by the 'Minivan News'.

He rejected MDP allegations that Nasheed was been targeted and told PTI that police was just doing its job based on court orders.

If found guilty Nasheed faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail or exile or a fine not exceeding MVR 2,000. If Nasheed is convicted and sentenced to a period of more than one year, he would be disqualified from contesting in the upcoming Presidential election.

Ibrahim Manik in Male
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