Maldivian Supreme Court rescinds ruling to release opposition leaders

Wednesday, 07 Feb, 2018

The President's office said the court order to release prisoners was overstepping the mark and was an "infringement of national security and public interest".

An opposition member of Parliament in the Maldives says soldiers have forced their way into the Supreme Court building where judges are believed to be taking shelter. It is not immediately clear what charges they face, if any.

Police said in a Twitter message they had arrested Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed "for an ongoing investigation".

The fast-paced flow of events in the Maldives over the past several days has caught India in a bind.

Gayoom, the half brother of the Maldives' current president, is now a leader of the political opposition.

Gayoom was arrested along with his son-in-law, Mohamed Nadheem, early on Tuesday morning in what the Maldivian opposition have called "blatantly trumped up charges of bribery".

The nine political leaders included Nasheed.

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

In a statement, Nasheed said Yameen had illegally declared martial law.

Opposition leader Nasheed, meanwhile, accused Yameen of acting illegally and called on India and the United States to step in and help remove him from office. This declaration is unconstitutional and illegal.

China meanwhile said the political situation in the Maldives was an internal matter. "We must remove him from power". "We are asking for a physical presence". "We have advised our operators to not sell Maldives packages", said Raman Singh Taneja, Managing Director, Flexi Tours Pvt Ltd in New Delhi that sends tour packages.

Reacting to these developments, the USA today said it was "troubled" and "disappointed" by the declaration of a state of emergency by Yameen and asked him to comply with the rule of law and implement the Supreme Court ruling.

Repeatedly declaring that no individual's actions can be exempted from being overseen or investigated, including top court judges and the President himself, Yameen said that the Supreme Court had also rejected four letters of concern he had tried to file regarding recent events."I also bade the Chief Justice to meet with me (on Monday), but he refused to do so", Yameen claimed.

In a strongly-worded travel advisory issued by the Ministry of External Affairs late Monday night, the Indian government urged all its citizens to exercise caution and defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls. Two remain outside the country, including Mr Mohamed Nasheed, a former president who has become an worldwide celebrity because of his urgent pleas to mitigate climate change.

He was granted medical leave in 2016 and traveled to Britain where he was granted asylum.

In 2015 he was convicted under the anti-terrorism act of Maldives and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Mr Nasheed has vowed to run again in elections scheduled for this year, and suddenly, thanks to the Supreme Court, the next election could be a fierce one. Gayoom, the half-brother of the country's former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has crushed the Opposition in the Maldives by targeting high-profile leaders.