The tussle between the Supreme Court and the President of Maldives has led to a state of emergency in the country. It all started last week when the top court ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of elected members of Parliament that would give the political opposition majority power.
The tussle between the Supreme Court and the President of Maldives has led to a state of emergency in the country. It all started last week when the top court ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of elected members of Parliament that would give the political opposition majority power. The SC ruling wasn’t taken well by the current President – Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. He refused to comply with the order of the apex court and, on Monday (February 5), declared a state of emergency for 15 days. The latest move gives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom power to arrest and detain people as per his will. “During this time, though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected,” said a statement from the office of the President.
The crisis took an ugly turn yesterday when Maldives National Defense Forces reportedly broke into the Supreme Court in the capital city of Male. In a tweet, former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood, said, security forces “blockaded and locked the Supreme Court building from outside and hence the justices are without any food.” Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were also arrested hours after the President declared an emergency. The former President had earlier stated that police has surrounded his residence. “To protect me or to arrest me? No idea,” he tweeted before reportedly being taken into custody. Notably, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is the half-brother of the current President, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and ruled the country for 30 years until 2008.
Meanwhile, the country is witnessing widespread protests asking of the government to obey the court order and urging the international community to do what it can to persuade the government to comply with court orders. The US State Department said in a press release that it supports the Supreme Court’s decision and ‘it is imperative that the Maldivian President, government, and the security services uphold the constitution’ and rule of law and implement the court’s ruling in full. “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,” the U.S. National Security Council tweeted.
So far, China, the United Kingdom and India have issued travel warnings to the Maldives. The Maldives President has assured the safety of tourists and citizens saying, “The safety of all Maldivians and foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives will be ensured.”