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Originally published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 4:58 AM

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Maldives ex-leader seeks refuge at Indian Embassy

The former president of the Maldives said Wednesday he has taken refuge at the Indian Embassy after a court ordered his arrest.

The Associated Press

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka —

The former president of the Maldives said Wednesday he has taken refuge at the Indian Embassy after a court ordered his arrest.

Mohamed Nasheed tweeted that he took the step "mindful of his own security and the stability of the Indian Ocean." He did not explain.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said India has not decided whether to grant Nasheed refuge at the embassy in Male, the Maldives' capital.

A court ordered police to arrest Nasheed and present him to the court on Wednesday after he failed to appear for a hearing Sunday on charges that he illegally ordered the detention of a senior judge, a move that led to his ouster from power last year.

His party said Nasheed was in India on Sunday and could not return because of health reasons.

Nasheed says the charges against him are politically motivated to disqualify him from running for the presidency later this year.

The Indian Embassy in Colombo said in a statement Wednesday that candidates from all political parties must be free to participate in the election, scheduled for Sept. 7.

"Prevention of participation by political leaders in the contest would call into question the integrity of the electoral process, thereby perpetuating the current political instability in Maldives," the embassy said.

Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the Indian Ocean archipelago in 2008. He resigned a year ago after weeks of public protests against the judge's arrest. His deputy, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, succeeded him.

An inquiry commission last year dismissed Nasheed's claim that he was ousted in a coup.

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