Two foreign journalists, including an Indian national, have been detained in the Maldives for working in the country in violation of its immigration rules, the Maldivian police said today amid political turmoil in the island nation. “Two journalists (a British national and an Indian national) have been handed over to @ImmigrationMV to take action against them for working in Maldives against Maldives Immigration Act and Regulations,” Maldives police tweeted, without naming them. The action against the two journalists came as a privately-owned television station in the Maldives went off the air, citing threats during the country’s current state of emergency. Rajje TV, which highlights the views of the political opposition, said in a statement that it stopped broadcasting because the country’s environment does not allow journalists to report freely and independently, the AFP news agency reported. Male, which has seen several political crises since the ouster of its first democratically-elected president Mohamed Nasheed in 2012, plunged into chaos last Thursday when the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine imprisoned Opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”.
Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen has refused to obey the court orders and declared a state of emergency in the country. Maldives’ Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency. Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was also arrested. International community has asked the Yameen government to restore the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people and institutions.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives and the resulting suspension of constitutional guarantees an “all-out assault on democracy.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have expressed concern about the political situation in Maldives over a phone call, the White House said today.