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Maldives issues arrest warrant for ex-president Nasheed

Colombo, Sri Lanka | August 31, 2016, Wednesday @ 15:35 in World » INDIAN OCEAN | Views: 3297
Maldives issues arrest warrant for ex-president Nasheed

Former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed speaks during a press conference in London, on January 25, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL)


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(AFP) - The Maldives government announced Wednesday it is seeking former president Mohamed Nasheed's arrest for failing to return to the archipelago to complete a prison sentence after receiving medical treatment in Britain.

Nasheed, the Maldives' first democratically elected president, recently won political asylum in Britain after being granted permission to travel there for treatment while serving the sentence for a terror-related offence.

"A court order (has been) issued for arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed," the government said in a statement, issued after Nasheed flew to neighbouring Sri Lanka.

"The Maldives correctional service is seeking to have him brought back to serve the remainder of his 13-year sentence," the statement said, without detailing how it planned to seek his return.

Opposition sources said Nasheed has been meeting Maldives opposition groups in Sri Lanka in recent days to hatch a plan to topple the archipelago's strongman Abdulla Yameen.

Nasheed was sentenced to prison in March 2015 after he was convicted on a terror-related charge which the United Nations said was politically motivated.

The Indian Ocean nation adopted multi-party democracy in 2008 after three decades of autocratic rule by Yameen's half brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

But it has been gripped by turmoil since Nasheed was toppled in 2012, denting its reputation as an upmarket tourist destination.

The Maldives government has resisted intense international pressure over the turmoil that has seen all key political opponents of Yameen either jailed or in exile.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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