Two SC judges and the opposition leader were arrested on Tuesday, hours after the government declared a state of emergency in the Maldives. Police informed on Twitter that Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed were arrested, but did not mention the charges. The charges against the opposition leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom include bribery and attempt to overthrow the government, according to a tweet by his lawyer Maumoon Hameed. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives said that the normal life wouldn’t be affected.
It was on Monday that Maldives president Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the country. “though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected,” said Yameen. Former president Mohamed Nasheed asked for India’s help in a tweet.
President Yameen refused to agree with court’s order to release political prisoners who were arrested after he has assumed the office in 2013.
“The top court’s verdict resulted in the disruption of the functions of the executive power and the infringement of national security and public interest,” said Azima Shakoor county’s legal affairs minister.
“The government does not believe that the Supreme Court ruling to release the political prisoners can be enforced,” she added.
Yameen has also suspended Maldives parliament. Soon after the declaration of emergency, security forces locked up SC judges inside. Police used pepper spray against the protesters, reports Aljazeera.
Former president and opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom posted a video on Twitter before the arrest. “I have not done anything to warrant my arrest. I urge you to remain steadfast in your resolve, too,” he said in the tweet.
Home to almost 22,000 Indians, 125 out of 400 doctors in the country are Indian citizens. About 25% of country’s teaching population are Indians, reports Hindustan Times. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India alerted Indian citizens in the Maldives to exercise due caution and avoid public gatherings.
“The prevailing political developments in the Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the government. Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice,” said an MEA advisory.
Response of US
“America stands with the people of Maldives. The Maldivian government and military must respect the rule of law, freedom of expression and democratic institutions. The world is watching,” tweeted White House National Security Council.