Nasheed delays campaign launch over Gayoom jailing

Self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on Wednesday postponed his presidential campaign launch after the jailing of his once arch rival and former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The 80 year old Gayoom along with two top court judges were convicted of obstruction justice and sentenced to one year seven months and six days in prison earlier Wednesday.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

Gayoom, along with Chief Justice Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed who had been arrested under the state of emergency had been charged with obstruction of justice over their refusal to handover their mobile phone to the police.

Nasheed was set to officially launch his campaign for the September elections on Wednesday evening but had postponed the event by a day following Gayoom's sentencing, his party said in a statement.

US along with India have decried the jailing of the latest political leader in the crisis hit archipelago "without fair trial."

Nasheed meanwhile is pressing ahead with his campaign despite the country's electoral watchdog refusing to accept his candidacy.

Nasheed lives in self imposed exile most recently in Sri Lanka after he was allowed to leave to the UK on medical leave in an internationally brokered deal following his jailing on terrorism charges.

Nasheed's 13 year prison sentence rules him out of the elections in September as per the constitution.