Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed allowed foreign trip

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Mohamed Nasheed speaks during a press conference in Male, 10 November 2013.Image source, AFP
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The country's first democratically-elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed insists he was removed by a coup

The jailed former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has been given permission to have surgery in the UK.

Nasheed was given a 13-year sentence under anti-terror laws last year.

A Maldives government statement said Nasheed had to return to the Maldives to serve the remainder of the sentence.

A former human rights campaigner, Nasheed became the nation's first democratically elected leader in 2008, ending three decades of rule by former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

In 2012, he was detained after being accused of ordering the arrest of a judge.

He resigned months later amid an army mutiny and public protests over the judge's fate.

Nasheed alleged that he had been removed by a coup, but this was denied by his vice-president, who replaced him.

The current President, Abdulla Yameen, was elected in controversial polls in 2013 and is the half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who served for 30 years as president and was widely accused of autocratic rule.