undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

Maldives attorney general says court can't oust president Yameen

07 February 2018, 01:22 | Damon Campbell

Maldives attorney general says court can't oust president Yameen

Maldives top judge arrested as state of emergency declared

Yameen did not honour the court orders and declared emergency on Monday night, giving special powers to forces to make arrests and bar public gatherings. Gayoom is Yameen's half-brother and was the leader of the Maldives for 30 years until Nasheed won the first democratic elections in 2008.

The Maldivian government must immediately release judges and opposition politicians it has arbitrarily detained through emergency powers, Amnesty International said today.

Mr Yameen has cracked down on civil liberties since coming to power in 2013, imprisoning or forcing into exile almost every politician who opposes him.

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

Nasheed slammed the Emergency declared by President Yameen, terming it to be tantamount to a declaration of martial law in the Maldives.

What was the Supreme Court ruling?

In a letter to the court released by the president's office, Mr Yameen said the court's order to release prisoners had encroached on the powers of the state and was an "infringement of national security and public interest".

The president spoke hours after Maldives security forces stormed the supreme court building, arresting two judges and later a top opposition politician, after the state of emergency was declared. He also urged the United States to block financial transactions of Yameen's government.

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The action escalates tensions after the nation's Supreme Court ordered the government to release nine jailed opposition leaders.

The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.

The Government of Maldives wishes to assure the Maldivian people and the worldwide community that the safety of all Maldivians and foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives will be ensured, the announcement said.

However, with the court effectively suspended, it remains unclear how this might happen.

In a video message shortly before his arrest, Gayoom said: "I have not done anything to be arrested". The island nation has been witnessing political unrest and street protests since Nasheed was convicted in 2015 on terror charges and sentenced to 13 years in jail.

He was granted asylum in the United Kingdom after he was authorized to seek medical treatment there amid mounting foreign pressure.

He asked "Yameen and (the) Maldives government to peacefully end the state of emergency, restore all articles of the constitution, take immediate steps to implement in full the order of the Supreme Court, and to permit and support the full, free and proper functioning of Parliament".

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