An arrest warrant has been issued for former president Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives said today.
A Maldivian criminal court issued the warrant against Nasheed, country's first democratically elected president who was toppled in 2012, for failing to return to the troubled archipelago to complete a jail sentence after receiving medical care in Britain, the AFP reported.
The 49-year-old leader was granted political asylum last year in May after he was authorised to travel for medical treatment while serving the sentence for a terror-related offence.
"The warrant for Nasheed's arrest was sought over an investigation into the alleged misuse of state funds during his presidency," the police said in a statement.
It is pertinent to mention that the order has been released days after Nasheed flew to neighbouring Sri Lanka.
"The Maldives correctional service is seeking to have him brought back to serve the remainder of his 13-year sentence on a terror conviction," The Maldives Independent reported, citing the statement.
The police were also authorised to arrest and bring back Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Akram Kamaldeen, a senior official of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, for refusing to obey a police summon on August 4, which ordered the pair to return to the Maldives within two weeks for questioning over unspecified charges, the paper said.
Jameel, who fled the Maldives in July last year, has also been granted political refugee status by the UK government. He has since been living in self-imposed exile in the UK.
Political turmoil denting Maldives's image
Denting its image as a paradise for upmarket tourists, the Indian Ocean island chain has been gripped by political turmoil since Nasheed was forced to resign in 2012.
Nasheed's conviction last year invited widespread international condemnation. He was among members of several exiled opposition groups meeting in Colombo, two people in Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party told AFP at the weekend.
A climate change activist, Nasheed was elected president in 2008. He was also imprisoned during the three-decade rule of former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
According to AFP, sources close to Nasheed said he was eager to discuss the Maldives turmoil with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was to arrive in Colombo late Wednesday on a two-day visit for talks with Sri Lankan leaders.