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Originally published Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 2:06 AM

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Maldives ex-leader arrested in abuse of power case

Maldives former President Mohamed Nasheed was arrested Tuesday to face charges of abuse of power during his tenure, accusations that he claims are an attempt to keep him out of this year's presidential election.

The Associated Press

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka —

Maldives former President Mohamed Nasheed was arrested Tuesday to face charges of abuse of power during his tenure, accusations that he claims are an attempt to keep him out of this year's presidential election.

Police spokesman Hassan Hanif said Nasheed was arrested at his home in Male, the capital, and will be produced in court on Wednesday. He said Nasheed failed to appear for a hearing and evaded two arrest warrants.

Nasheed is charged with illegally ordering the arrest of a senior judge, a move that led to his fall from power in February 2012. His vice president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, replaced him. Nasheed says he was forced out at gunpoint in a coup, though a commission of inquiry dismissed that claim last year.

Nasheed claims charges against him are intended to keep him from attempting to reclaim the presidency in elections scheduled for September.

He avoided two arrest warrants last month by taking refuge at the Indian Embassy for 10 days. He was arrested in October, also for avoiding a court summons, but was released after being brought before a court.

The Maldivian Democratic Party, which Nasheed leads, said police did not produce a court warrant when they arrested the former president. Party spokesman Abdul Gaffoor said Nasheed was being detained at a prison island and the party was concerned about his safety. The party was meeting Tuesday evening to decide its next step.

Nasheed was elected president in this Indian Ocean archipelago's first democratic elections in 2008, ending a 30-year autocracy.

He resigned after weeks of public protests against the judge's arrest and losing support from the military and police.

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