World

Maldives top court reverses ruling after judges' arrest

8 February 2018 - 53   - 0

The Maldives president on Wednesday welcomed a Supreme Court move to reinstate the convictions of high-profile political prisoners after he arrested two top judges and declared a state of emergency, plunging the upmarket holiday paradise into chaos.

President Abdulla Yameen attracted international censure for his refusal to comply with last week's shock Supreme Court order to release his jailed political opponents and to quash the conviction of Mohamed Nasheed.

Exiled opposition leader Nasheed has said he will run against Yameen in presidential elections due later this year, and the court's ruling had appeared to pave the way for his return to the honeymoon islands.

But late on Tuesday the remaining three judges reinstated his controversial 2015 terrorism conviction and reversed their earlier order to free eight other political prisoners.

Security forces stand guard outside the Supreme Court in Male

A statement on Yameen’s website on Wednesday said his administration welcomed the court's U-turn, which the judges had said was made "in light of the concerns raised by the president".

The worsening political turmoil has led several countries to warn against travel to the country, which depends heavily on tourism, at the peak of the holiday season.

The 15-day state of emergency imposed earlier this week gives the government sweeping powers to arrest and detain individuals and curtails the powers of the judiciary and the legislature.

Maldives Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge were arrested at dawn Tuesday after security forces stormed the court complex in the capital Male.

In a televised address to the nation hours later, Yameen said the judges were part of a plot to overthrow him.

"I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges," he said.

"We had to find out how thick the plot or coup was."

- Escalating crackdown -

Yameen has had almost all the political opposition jailed since he came to power, in an escalating crackdown on dissent.

This week he ordered the arrest of his estranged half-brother, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who last year sided with the opposition.

The 80-year-old Gayoom -- president for 30 years until the country's first democratic elections in 2008 -- was taken from his home in the capital Male around midnight on Monday, hours after the emergency was declared.

Nasheed has appealed to regional superpower India to send troops to the strategically located archipelago, which has grown increasingly close to regional rival China under Yameen's leadership.

"President Yameen has illegally declared martial law and overrun the state. We must remove him from power," said Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, in a statement Tuesday.

"We would like the Indian government to send an envoy, backed by its military, to free the judges and the political detainees."

In a statement, India said it was "disturbed" by the president's latest moves and was monitoring the situation closely, but did not directly address Nasheed's request.

London-based Amnesty International called for the immediate release of the detained judges, warning that the "eyes of the world" were on the worsening crisis in the troubled archipelago.

The United States said earlier it was "troubled and disappointed" at the declaration of a state of emergency and called on Yameen to comply with the rule of law.

  Comments - 0

  • Leave a comment

Top Stories

Rajapaksa claims witch-hunt against his family

  Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared on Friday that “deliberate” attempts were being made to implicate former Def...

19 August 2018 - Views : 17

Prisons spokesperson’s mouth locked up

19 August 2018

SriLankan pilots clarify issue of media leaks

19 August 2018

Former Prime Minister Vajpayee a true friend of Lanka: PM Wickremesinghe

19 August 2018



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">

 

Features & Analysis

Blast from the past as Boyzone leave Lankan fans thrilled

It was a blast from the past as ‘Boyzone’ the Irish band that had ruled the charts in the 90s performed i...

Shaggy arrives in the island

As Cinnamon Life's Colombo Music Festival gets underway tomorrow,  headling artist Shaggy is seen arriving a...

Singer Diana King arrives in the island ahead of the Colombo Music Festival

It was a star studded morning at the Cinnamon Grand as headliner Diana King of Cinnamon Life's Colombo Music Fest...

In Pictures: Madhu Feast

The Madhu Church festival takes place every year in August when thousands of Catholic devotees flock from all over th...



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">