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Maldives ex-leader arrested after no-show in court

Mohamed Nasheed (center), former president of the Maldives, was arrested on Fares-Mathoda island Monday.

Maldivian Democratic Party via AFP/Getty Images

Mohamed Nasheed (center), former president of the Maldives, was arrested on Fares-Mathoda island Monday.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Police in the Maldives arrested Mohamed Nasheed, the former president, on Monday after he twice failed to appear before a court to face charges that he illegally ordered the arrest of a judge while in office.

Nasheed, who has said the military ousted him in a coup earlier this year, was arrested while campaigning for next year’s elections. His arrest could trigger protests by his supporters, who have previously clashed with police in the Indian Ocean archipelago and who say the charges against him are politically motivated.

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Police spokesman Hasan Haneef said Nasheed was arrested on Fares-Mathoda island, in the Gaaf Dhaal atoll, about 273 miles from the capital, Male, on Monday and was being brought to Male by boat. ‘‘He is in police custody in order to be produced before courts on Tuesday,’’ Haneef added.

On Sunday, Hulhumale magistrate court issued an arrest warrant for Nasheed after he twice defied summons to appear before courts. The same courts, two weeks ago, ordered him not to leave the capital without the court’s permission.

Nasheed defied that order too.

A release from Nasheed’s supporters said the arrest was ‘‘aimed solely at preventing him from campaigning ahead of the presidential elections.’’

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