A Maldivian court on Sunday issued an arrest warrant against the country’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Nasheed, after he questioned the legitimacy of a special court to try him on the charge of abuse of power while he was in office.

Hulhumale Magistrate Court ordered the police to produce 45-year-old Mr. Nasheed in court by keeping him in custody to face charges over the arrest and subsequent detention of Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Police spokesman Hassan Haneef confirmed that the court order had been received to produce the ex-President in court on Tuesday. “Efforts are now underway to comply with the order,” Mr. Haneef told PTI.

Mr. Nasheed last week refused to appear before a three-judge bench set up to hear charges that he abused his power while in office.

“Questioning the legitimacy of the ad hoc Magistrate Court, I have appealed the case with the high court and I await a decision,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.

Mr. Nasheed, who won the first democratic elections in the country in 2008, said he would not be given a fair trial. The case could see him jailed or banished to a remote island and barred from future elections.

The case relates to his decision to send the military to arrest of a senior judge in January, an action that led to protests and his resignation in February.

Besides Mr. Nasheed, former Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, former Chief of Defence Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel, former Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Colonel Mohamed Ziyad are also being charged with the unconstitutional arrest of Judge Mohamed.

If found guilty the offence carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail or exile or a fine not exceeding 2,000 Maldivian Rufiyaa. If Mr. Nasheed is convicted and sentenced to a period of more than one year, he would be disqualified from contesting in the upcoming Presidential election.

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