Former Maldives president released from prison

Maldives former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom waves as he is brought to appear before the High Court in Male, Maldives, Sept.30, 2018. (AP Photo/ Mohamed Sharuhaan)

MALE, Maldives (AP) — A Maldives court has released a former president who was serving a 19-month sentence for failing to cooperate with a police investigation.

The high court in the Indian Ocean archipelago released Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on bail Sunday. It comes a week after opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih unexpectedly won the country’s third-ever multiparty presidential election.

Gayoom ruled as a strongman for 30 years until introducing democracy in 2008. Outgoing President Abdul Yameen Gayoom, Gayoom’s half-brother, rolled back many democratic gains.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was sentenced in June to 19 months imprisonment after failing to hand over his mobile phone to investigators. He had been arrested in February on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed earlier had been given a 13-year sentence after a widely criticized trial but won asylum in Britain.

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