Former Maldives President goes on trial

Mohamed Nasheed

Maldives first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed will go on trail on Monday on abuse of power charges, nearly eight months after he resigned following what he called "coup d'etat".

Nasheed, 45, is facing trial for detaining the chief criminal court judge on corruption allegations during his final days in office. The trial will be presided over by a three-Judge bench.

Nasheed was forced out in a police mutiny after he detained the judge. A Maldivian court has slapped a travel ban on Nasheed pending the hearing.

Nasheed's legal team today said that the former President will respect the decision made by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to shun any court verdict untill the government implement reforms recommended by international partners.

Nasheed ordered senior judge Abdullah Mohamed's arrest in January over corruption allegations in a move that triggered weeks of protests that finally led to his resignation.

The charge of wrongful arrest of a judge carries up to three years in prison or exile to a remote island.

Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the atoll nation after winning its first multi-party elections in 2008 that ended Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's 30-year autocratic rule.

Apart from the criminal case, Nasheed also faces two defamation suits filed against him by Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz and by Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

The first defamation case was called on today but it was immediately put off indefinitely at the request of Riyaz, local media reports said.

The government has also pressed charges also against former Defence Minister Thalhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan, former Chief of Defence Force Moosa Ali Jaleel, Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Mohamed Ziyad in connection with the case.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim and Commissioner of Police Abdulla have sued Nasheed for making statements which could damage their reputation.

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