Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Maldives leader says Supreme Court ruling was coup

Maldives leader says Supreme Court ruling was coup

Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago, was plunged into turmoil on February 1 when its Supreme Court issued a shock ruling that overturned criminal convictions against nine of Yameen's opponents, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed, and ordered those in jail be freed.

It said the judges, upon considering concerns raised by the president, had made a decision to "annul" a section ordering the release and re-trial of the nine people, seven of whom are imprisoned in the Maldives.

China, the United States and India have already issued advisories against travelling to the Maldives, though most tourists would only pass through rather than stay in Male, the densely populated capital where political tensions are highest.

India's sway has been on the wane in the Maldives after Nasheed - the country's first democratically elected President and perceived as close to New Delhi - was ousted in a coup in 2012.

Mr Nasheed also called on the U.S. to stop Maldives government officials from making transactions through American banks.

Yameen said "though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected".

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Male: Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Monday declared a state of emergency amid the political crisis in the country.

Amnesty International urged Yameen against using the state of emergency as a cover for rights abuses and called for the immediate release of the judges.

With the political crisis in the Maldives showing no signs of abating, the chief justice has reportedly also received threats to his life via anonymous telephone calls.

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

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the Opposition, was also detained at home. The state of emergency gives a range of powers to the security forces to make arrests and ban public gatherings.

She added, "President Yameen's refusal to implement the ruling puts him outside his constitutional mandate".

President Yameen has accused judges of plotting to overthrow him and said the emergency is to investigate this plot.

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