COLOMBO - A Maldives court on Wednesday refused to hear a case against former president Mohamed Nasheed, who has been accused of abuse of power and ordering the illegal arrest of a judge, a media report said. The magistrate's court near the capital Male said it could not proceed with the case filed by the prosecutor general because "it had no jurisdiction to entertain the case", the privately run Haveeru news service said. There was no immediate reaction from the government to the judicial setback. The new govt of President Mohamed Waheed has been seeking to prosecute Nasheed over his alleged role in the arrest of a criminal court judge in January.
The charge of wrongful arrest of a judge carries up to three years in prison or exile to a remote island.
The arrest and detention of judge Abdullah Mohamed led to widespread protests that culminated in a police mutiny and Nasheed's exit from power on February 7.
Nasheed later said he was forced to quit as a result of a military coup backed by his then deputy Waheed, who took over leadership of the Indian Ocean atoll nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.
The case's dismissal came a day after Nasheed challenged the government to press ahead with the prosecution and said he would use any court hearing as a platform to speak out against the new administration.
On Monday, government spokesman Masood Imad said Nasheed would be formally charged, but the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said the ex-president was never indicted.
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 MDP calls for presidential elections to be held this year, but President Waheed has ruled out polls before July next year.
The political upheaval in February badly damaged the tourism industry in the Maldives, which is known for its luxury resorts and pristine island beaches.