Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Maldives declares 15-day state of emergency amid crisis

Maldives declares 15-day state of emergency amid crisis

The declaration gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain individuals, curtails the powers of the judiciary and bars parliament from impeaching Yameen.

The crisis, which has included repeated rounds of clashes between police and opposition protesters, began when the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that that all politicians opposed to Yameen, including Nasheed, be released.

International rights watchdog Amnesty International has warned Male that emergency rule "must not become a licence for further repression", pointing to the country's "appalling track record of suppressing freedom of expression".

"President Yameen has systematically alienated his coalition, jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure, deprived elected members of parliament of their right to represent their voters in the legislature, revised laws to erode human rights. and weakened the institutions of government", the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Attorney General Mohamed Anil said at a news conference that he had heard "rumors that the Supreme Court is going to order the impeachment" of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Mr Gayoom was the archipelago nation's president from 1978 to 2008 and is the half brother of the Maldives' current president, Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Officials say the court has not properly responded to a series of letters citing problems with implementing the order, including that the cases against the political prisoners are at different legal stages.

The government did not immediately comment on the soldiers going into the court building.

"On behalf of Maldivian people we humbly request: India to send envoy, backed by its military, to release judges & pol. detainees". Since he took over as president in 2013, Yameen has progressively weakened the multi-party democracy that had emerged five years earlier, exclusively with the intent of clinging to power in the face of strong and legitimate challenges to his leadership.

A battle between rulers and the Supreme Court has been escalating, with Yameen's allies accusing the court of trying to bring down the government.

Meanwhile, Opposition leaders in the Maldives urged the worldwide community on Monday to pressure President Abdulla Yameen into obeying a court order to free political prisoners and "restore democracy" to the troubled honeymoon islands.

Nasheed said last week after the court ruling that he would mount a fresh challenge for the presidency this year. The charges were not specified.

He urged the court to "review the concerns" of the Government.

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 ruling also ordered the government to reinstate 12 legislators who were sacked for defecting to the opposition, potentially paving the way to impeach the president.

But the strongman leader has remained defiant, suspending parliament, ordering the arrest of two returning opposition defectors and staging a rally late Sunday with hundreds of supporters in the capital Male.

On Monday, President Yameen's office made public some letters from the presidency to the Supreme Court chief justice in which Yameen said the court had encroached into the jurisdiction of the state with its order -indicating that Yameen was as yet unlikely to agree to comply with the court's order.

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

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