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Maldives govt says former president Mohamed Nasheed won't be arrested for now

Maldives govt says former president Mohamed Nasheed won't be arrested for now
Male:  The stand-off between the Maldives government and its former president Mohamed Nasheed has de-escalated for now. The Maldives government said today Mr Nasheed will not be arrested for the time-being.

A presidential spokesperson told NDTV that the arrest warrant against Mr Nasheed expired yesterday after he took refuge at the India High Commission and could not be produced in court.

Mr Nasheed is a free man until the court decides the next date of hearing in the case against him, the spokesperson said.

Mr Nasheed had sought refuge at the Indian High Commission, and sources said that India had agreed to give him shelter.

Mr Nasheed was forced out of power in February last year in what he has described as a coup orchestrated by former ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He is charged with abusing his power as president after winning the first free elections in the country in 2008.

Yesterday saw a huge police build-up outside the Indian High Commission when officers came to give effect to the arrest warrant issued by a court against Mr Nasheed. The high court had rejected Mr Nasheed's request that the warrant issued by a lower court be stayed.

The arrest warrant was issued as Mr Nasheed failed to attend a previously scheduled trial hearing on February 10. The former President was on a visit to India after being granted permission to leave the country by the court. Despite the travel period he was allowed expiring on February 9, Mr Nasheed returned to Male only on February 11, Maldivian media reported.

Mr Nasheed issued a statement yesterday, asking the current President, Mohamed Waheed, to step down to enable Speaker to form a transition government.
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