A court in the Maldives has slapped a travel ban on ousted president Mohamed Nasheed pending a hearing over allegations of abuse of power during his tenure, his party said on Wednesday.
The order preventing Nasheed from leaving the capital island Male was served late Tuesday soon after he returned from Britain, said Shauna Aminath, a spokeswoman for his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
"The order prevents him from leaving Male as well as the country," Aminath said from Male when contacted by telephone. "He has already written to the court asking them to expedite the case against him."
In July, the same court refused to try Nasheed saying it had no jurisdiction, but a higher court ruled it could hear allegations that he ordered the illegal arrest of a judge in January.
Nasheed ordered senior judge Abdullah Mohamed's arrest in January over corruption allegations in a move that triggered weeks of protests capped by a police mutiny that saw him ousted as leader on February 7.
The former leader said he was forced to quit as a result of a military coup backed by his then deputy Mohamed Waheed, who took over leadership of the Indian Ocean atoll nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.
The charge of wrongful arrest of a judge carries up to three years in prison or exile to a remote island.
Soon after Nasheed's downfall, the government secured a warrant for his arrest on charges of abuse of power but the warrant was never executed following international pressure on the new regime.
The United States, the Commonwealth and neighbouring India have backed Nasheed's calls for presidential elections to be held this year, but President Waheed has ruled out polls before July next year.
Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the atoll nation after winning its first multi-party elections in 2008.
The political upheaval in February has dented the image of the Maldives as a peaceful paradise known for its luxury resorts and pristine island beaches.