A lawyer for the Maldives' chief justice says he is being unconstitutionally detained after being forcefully dragged on the floor from his chambers by security personnel in riot gear following last week's surprise ruling to free jailed politicians.

The lawyer expressed grave concern about the detention of Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed in a statement Thursday, saying, "this Executive encroachment of Judicial powers is a blatant violation and completely erodes the doctrine of separation of powers."

Lawyer Hisaan Hussain said Saeed must be released immediately.

The country's acting police chief on Wednesday accused Saeed and a second Supreme Court justice of taking bribes in return for the court ruling, which has set off a political crisis in the country.

The three justices not detained by police have annulled the order.