A higher court in the Maldives on Sunday ordered the suspension of a legal hearing on charges against the country's former president. Ex-leader Mohamed Nasheed is accused of illegally ordering the detention of a senior judge, a move that led to his ouster from power earlier this year.

Public Prosecutor Aishath Sazna Ahmed said the country's High Court on Sunday ordered the suspension of a hearing against Nasheed after he challenged the legitimacy of the lower court that heard his case.

Nasheed was to appear in court for a second time Sunday, nearly a month after he was arrested for ignoring summons twice and breaching an order prohibiting him from leaving capital, Male. He was released after the first hearing.

Nasheed stepped down as president of this India Ocean archipelago in February after months of protests and later losing the support of police and the military following the judge's arrest.

He has said he was forced out in a military coup. An independent commission of inquiry later ruled that Nasheed's ouster was legal and that he had not been forced to step down at gunpoint as he had claimed. Nasheed said he would accept the commission report with reservations.

In 2008, Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, a popular tourist destination that was under 30 years of autocratic rule.

The mostly Muslim country is home to 300,000 people.