State of emergency called in the Maldives

Randolph Lopez
February 7, 2018

Male: The beleaguered Maldives government Sunday ordered police and troops to resist any move by the Supreme Court to arrest or impeach President Abdulla Yameen over his refusal to release political prisoners.

The court also ordered the release of nine law makers - a step that could have restored the opposition's majority in parliament, threatening the survival of the government of President Abdulla Yameen, known to be close to China.

Speaking publicly for the first time since last Thursday's Supreme Court order, Yameen said Saturday that he did not expect the court ruling, but that all relevant authorities of the state need to do "a lot of work to see how to implement it".

On Monday, Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested by security forces, just hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country. "But when the chief justice were pushing for these things beyond his mandate or jurisdiction, we had to take it seriously. We must remove him from power", calling for the Indian envoy and military to be sent.

The court said in a brief statement that they must be freed until fair trials could be conducted without undue influence.

"I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges", Yameen said. This declaration is unconstitutional and illegal.

NPR's Julie McCarthy reports that the president's crackdown has tarnished the image, and no doubt the revenues, of the Maldives as an upmarket holiday destination and many parties are looking to India to pressure the government to ensure the rule of law.

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President Yameen gave a televised address to the country on Tuesday, saying judges had been plotting a coup.

The political crisis comes during the country's peak tourism season, when tens of thousands of foreigners visit the Maldives' beaches.

China, India and the United States have issued travel advisories for the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago better known for its upmarket tourism.

"We would also like the USA government to ensure that U.S. financial institutions stop all United States financial transactions of the regime leaders in the Maldives", he said.

"This deliberate refusal by the government to uphold the Constitution further destabilises the Maldives and wider Indian Ocean security", Nasheed said.

He was convicted on terrorism crimes in 2015, which according to critics and Amnesty International is "politically motivated".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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