Maldives police arrest judge, ex-prosecutor general

AP News
Posted: Feb 08, 2016 6:52 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Maldives police arrested a judge and a former prosecutor general for issuing an arrest warrant for the country's president without the police requesting one, an official said Monday in the latest political turmoil in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Ibrahim Hussain Shihab, a spokesman in the president's office, said former Prosecutor General Muhthaz Muhsin and Judge Ahmed Nihan were arrested Sunday night.

Muhsin was sacked earlier by parliament, where President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's party has a majority. Nihan is a magistrate on a nearby island.

Maldives police are investigating a complaint against Gayoom of embezzlement of state funds and the warrant was issued in connection to that case. Gayoom has not responded to the allegations against him.

Maldives held its first multiparty election in 2008. However, its transition to democracy has been difficult with its judiciary, police and bureaucracy still deemed heavily politicized.

Nihan is the second sitting judge to be arrested in recent years after a conflict with the government.

The arrest of a top judge in 2012 led to the fall from power of the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, who was later sentenced to 13 years in prison for ordering the arrest.

Nasheed was released temporarily last month to undergo spinal surgery in Britain, but it is uncertain whether he will return home.

Maldives is best known for its luxury island resorts.