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Maldives SC stays arrest order against former President Nasheed

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Maldives SC stays arrest order against former President Nasheed
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Male: The Maldives Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed an arrest order against former President Mohamed Nasheed, paving the way for the return of the self-exiled politician to the country later this week.

On Monday, the Prosecutor General's office had requested the top court to review the terrorism conviction and prison sentence of 13 years awarded to Nasheed, Efe news reported.

"The Maldives Supreme Court orders to delay Nasheed's sentence and orders on relevant state authorities to not take measures against Nasheed till the court comes to a decision following a review of his case," the court order read.

"The Supreme Court has been requested for a judicial review of the decision made by the criminal court and appellate courts against Mohamed Nasheed," the Prosecutor General's office said in a statement, adding that the step was taken in "public interest".

Nasheed had announced that he will return to Maldives on November 1 after the opposition, led by his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), had registered a surprise victory in elections held in September.

Nasheed, the first democratically-elected President of the country, was forced to resign in 2012 and was sentenced three years later for the illegal detention of a judge during his term in a controversial trial.

In September, the opposition, led by Nasheed's close aide Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, had defeated incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, paving the way for the return of Nasheed, who was barred from contesting the elections.

Following Solih's victory, courts in the Maldives had freed former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and other political prisoners, most of whom were arrested on terrorism charges during a political crisis in February despite the Supreme court annulling the conviction of opposition leaders, including that of Nasheed.

Meanwhile, Nasheed's MDP and other parties in the coalition were planning a grand welcome for the leader on Thursday.

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