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Maldives police arrest judge for issuing warrant for president

[JURIST] Maldives police arrested a judge and former prosecutor general on Sunday for issuing an arrest warrant for current president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom [official profile] without police consent. Yameen's spokesman identified [AP report] the arrested men as Judge Ahmed Nihan, a magistrate from near Male, and Muhthaz Muhsin, a prosecutor general removed by parliament last year. Nihan issued the warrant following allegations that Gayoom had been embezzling state funds. Police authorities claimed that the warrant was fraudulent because it did not originate from a police request. The police later released [Reuters report] Muhsin for unknown reasons. Mohamed Nasheed [official profile], former president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) [party website], accused the police of covering up Yameen's corruption and urged them to uphold the law.

Muhsin was one of three high-level officials in the Maldives removed [JURIST report] from their positions late last year. In November the Maldives parliament unanimously passed a declaration to remove [JURIST report] Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor [official profile] from his position as vice president due to accusations that he had been planning to kill Gayoom. Ex-vice president Mohamed Jameel was impeached [JURIST report] by parliament in July for neglecting his duties. He was believed to have been closely associated with jailed ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, who was imprisoned for ordering the arrest of a top judge while serving as president. The Maldives government has created significant controversy over the last three years, following Nasheed's resignation in 2012. In March 2013 Maldives police authorities arrested Nasheed [JURIST report] for missing a court appearance over charges that he illegally detained a judge prior to his resignation. In February 2015 Nasheed was arrested again, this time for alleged violations [JURIST report] of the country's anti-terrorism law. The next month the Criminal Court of Maldives sentenced Nasheed to 13 years in prison [JURIST report] for terrorism-related charges. Nasheed's trial garnered international attention from civil rights advocates. Immediately following the trial UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned the trial proceedings for violations of due process [JURIST report].

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