COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Prosecutors say the former president of the Maldives has been formally charged with illegally ordering the arrest of a senior judge, a move which sparked weeks of public protests and led to his ouster earlier this year.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said charges were filed against former President Mohamed Nasheed on Sunday. They carry a maximum penalty of three years' imprisonment or banishment to a remote island.

Nasheed ordered the military in January to arrest the chief judge of the country's criminal court, accusing him of political bias and corruption. The judge's secret detention triggered weeks of unrest.

Nasheed resigned as president in February after losing the support of the military and police. He now insists he was ousted in a coup.

Nasheed's supporters demonstrated for a sixth day Sunday demanding that new President Mohammed Waheed Hassan resign and call early elections.

Hassan says he will hold elections in July 2013, the earliest time permitted by the constitution.

Maldives is an Indian Ocean archipelago known for its expensive resorts.

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