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Maldives Arrests Judge, Former Legal Official Over Court Order

  • Reuters

British lawyer Amal Clooney, right, talks with former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed during a press conference in London, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.

British lawyer Amal Clooney, right, talks with former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed during a press conference in London, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.

Police in the Maldives arrested a judge and former prosecutor general over their alleged involvement in issuing a fraudulent court order to arrest President Abdulla Yameen, a presidential spokesman said on Monday.

But the main opposition, led by jailed former leader Mohamed Nasheed, who is now in London for surgery, said the government was trying to cover up corruption, including money-laundering.

Nasheed, the Maldives' first democratically elected president, was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges last March over the alleged abduction of a judge, after a rapid trial that drew international condemnation.

On Sunday, a magistrate's court from an atoll close to Male, the capital, issued an arrest warrant for Yameen in a police investigation, government officials and police said.

In a statement, the police said a group of individuals influenced a judge to issue the warrant against Yameen.

Some of them tried to get police to act on the false court order, while another group of activists tried to stage a gathering outside Yameen's official residence, police said.

"The warrant is fraudulent because it didn't originate from any official authority," presidential spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab told Reuters.

Former Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin, who was impeached by parliament last year, and Ahmed Nihan, a magistrate's court judge, were arrested on Sunday after an initial investigation, he added.

Muhsin was later released, two Maldivian diplomats in Colombo, who asked not to be identified, as they were not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters. They did not state the reason for his release.

Muhsin and Nihan did not immediately respond to telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment.

Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said it had evidence to implicate President Yameen in corrupt activities, however.

"Nasheed calls on the Maldives Police Service to uphold the law, and not to attempt to cover up evidence of President Yameen’s involvement in corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing," the MDP said in a statement.

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