Friday, 17 August, 2018

Maldivian Supreme Court rescinds ruling to release opposition leaders

Former President Mohamed Nasheed Former President Mohamed Nasheed
Glenn Montgomery | 07 February, 2018, 01:58

Meanwhile, Nasheed, who was granted asylum by Britain after the Male government allowed him to leave jail for medical treatment overseas in 2016, sought Indian intervention to resolve the nation's most serious political crisis in years.

The new ruling came as President Yameen Abdul Gayoom moved to assert his power over the court, declaring a state of emergency and ordering security forces to raid the court compound where they arrested the justices.

In the few hours since emergency state was declared, police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, two top court judges, including the chief justice and the chief judicial administrator.

The court's three remaining judges said in a statement that they were rescinding the order to release the prisoners "in light of the concerns raised by the President".

Anticipating a court order to impeach or arrest President Yameen, the Maldivian army has been asked to resist any such attempt.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen rejected that ruling. "We are asking for a physical presence", Nasheed tweeted. "Because we had to find out how thick the plot or coup is", president Yameen said in his address to the nation on live television.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a yellow travel alert Tuesday for the Maldives, an island group in the Indian Ocean, due to a political crisis in the country.

His emergency powers also allow him to search and seize property on the honeymoon island and restrict freedom of assembly, with soldiers in riot gear deployed to prevent parliamentary meetings.

"Government continues to carefully monitor the situation", the statement said.

The annulment of that order was announced in a court statement issued late Tuesday night after Yameen issued a state of emergency for the country that restricted citizens' rights and was internationally condemned.

The UK's Foreign Office said British nationals in the capital, Male, should "exercise caution and avoid any protests or rallies", but that outlying islands and resorts - and the worldwide airport - were not affected. Yameen has imposed an emergency and placed former President Gayoom under house arrest.

The court's shock decision on Thursday to order the release of political dissidents and quash the convictions of Nasheed and other exiled opposition figures has sparked a constitutional crisis.

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