Maumoon Abdul Gayoom: Former Maldives president released on bail

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom disembarks from a boat coming from the custodial island of Dhoonidhoo to attend a hearing at the High Court of Maldives in Male on 30 September 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Gayoom had been in power for three decades before being jailed earlier this year

A former president of the Maldives has been released on bail after he was arrested earlier this year.

The high court ordered the release of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was arrested at home as part of an opposition crackdown in February.

He is accused of conspiring to overthrow the government of his half-brother, President Abdulla Yameen.

Mr Yameen was defeated in a shock result when he stood for re-election last week.

The winner, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, urged Mr Yameen to free all political prisoners.

President Yameen jailed or exiled most of his rivals during his turbulent five-year term which ends in mid-November.

Mr Gayoom, now 80, was in power for three decades, ruling the islands with an iron fist until 2008, when the Maldives became a multi-party democracy.

He fell out with his half-brother in 2016 and joined the opposition.

He was detained after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency, suspending parliament and sending police to the Supreme Court.

His son Faris was also jailed but both were released by the high court in the capital, Male, after filing fresh appeals against their convictions.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption What many people associate the Maldives with...

The Maldives, famous for its 26 coral atolls and 1,192 islands, is home to more than 400,000 people.

Tourism is a vital part of its economy but there are fears for the archipelago's future because of climate change.

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