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Maldives court to decide whether to bail ex-president

 A court in the Maldives will decide Monday whether to grant bail to former president and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, a day after his surprise arrest on terrorism charges.



Male: A court in the Maldives will decide Monday whether to grant bail to former president and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, a day after his surprise arrest on terrorism charges.

Hundreds of party activists took to the streets shouting anti-government slogans after Nasheed, the country`s first democratically elected president, was detained on Sunday.

The Maldives is a major tourist attraction, but political unrest has dented its image as a peaceful island paradise in recent years -- particularly since Nasheed`s February 2012 ousting in what he described as a coup.

Nasheed`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said his arrest on Sunday was an attempt to shut down growing opposition agitation against the government of President Abdulla Yameen before a planned protest rally on Friday.

"We were planning a mass protest against the government and Nasheed was giving leadership to that event on February 27," MDP spokeswoman Shauna Aminath told AFP.

The charges against the former president relate to the 2012 arrest of the atoll nation`s criminal court chief judge Abdullah Mohamed for alleged corruption.

The MDP accused the government of using "trumped-up charges of terrorism" to put him in jail.

"There is little hope president Nasheed can be afforded anything approaching a fair trial," it said in a statement on Sunday night.

International reaction to the arrest has so far been muted, but Britain`s junior foreign minister Hugo Swire said he was "very concerned".

"UK watching closely. Urge calm and restraint on all sides," Swire tweeted.

Nasheed resigned as president in February 2012 following a mutiny by police and troops that followed weeks of protest over Mohamed`s arrest.

Since his downfall, Nasheed has been plagued with court action over the judge`s arrest.

The former president was detained just days after the state prosecutor dropped criminal charges of abuse of power against him over the arrest.

On Sunday he was charged again, this time under tough anti-terrorism laws that carry a higher maximum penalty of over 10 years in jail.

His lawyers are expected to apply for bail at a hearing on Monday.

Yameen came to power in November 2013 after an election that Nasheed initially led, although without an outright majority. 

Yameen won a controversial run-off election with the help of another eliminated presidential candidate and business tycoon Qasim Ibrahim, who has since become an ally of Nasheed.

The next presidential election is not due until late 2018, but the opposition has been staging regular anti-government demonstrations in the tiny island capital Male.

From Zee News

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