Maldives: Government Declares Emergency for 15 days

The Maldives, home of 400,000 people and best known as a tropical paradise for tourists, has experienced political unrest since Nasheed, the island’s first democratically-elected leader, was forced to quit amid a mutiny by police in 2012.

MALE: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday declared a 15-day state of emergency in the island nation. The “state of emergency” suspends all basic rights and gives sweeping power to security forces to arrest and detain suspects.



Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday, police said on Twitter, without specifying the charges against the pair.
Yameen, who has run the country with an iron hand since 2013, has been facing mounting pressure at home and from the United States and India to release former president Mohamed Nasheed from a 13-year jail sentence, and free eight other political opponents from prison.



The Maldives, home of 400,000 people and best known as a tropical paradise for tourists, has experienced political unrest since Nasheed, the island’s first democratically-elected leader, was forced to quit amid a mutiny by police in 2012.
The Supreme Court had ruled that the political leaders are guilty verdicts and have been politically influenced.
The surprise judicial ruling last week had led an increasingly tense standoff between President Abdulla Yameen and the Supreme court, with protests spilling into the streets of the capital, Male, and soldiers in riot gear deployed to the parliament building to stop lawmakers from the meeting.
Yameen, in a letter to the court released by his office, said the order had encroached on the powers of the state and was an “infringement of national security and public interest.” He urged the court to “review the concerns “of the government.



In addition to ordering the release of the political prisoners, the court also reinstated 12 lawmakers who had been ousted for switching allegiance to the opposition.
“Prevailing political developments in Maldives and resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for Government of India. Indian nationals are advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness and urged to exercise due to caution in public and avoid public gatherings,” said the MEA.
In a statement issued after the state of emergency was announced on state television, Yameen said, “though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services, and business will not be affected.”



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