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Maldives crisis: India says it is disturbed by the declaration of emergency

07 February, 2018, 01:21 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Maldives Hours after president declares emergency police storm Supreme Court and arrest two judges

"This is not a state of war, epidemic or natural disaster".

The government did not comment on soldiers entering the Supreme Court building or on Mr Gayoom's arrest, but the president's main rival, who lives in exile, urged people not to obey what he called an "unlawful order".

"We would like the Indian government to send an envoy, backed by its military, to free the judges and the political detainees", he said in an appeal.

The United Nations, European Union, and several foreign governments - including India, the USA and UK - have urged Yameen to comply with the Supreme Court's order. "We are asking for a physical presence".

"We are working on making sure we can respect the Supreme Court order in a way that doesn't cause any difficulties to the people", he said at a rally in his support organised by his party.

The 15-day state of emergency has seen the suspension of parliament, with security forces swarming the Supreme Court.

Maldives Legal Affairs Minister Azima Shakoor, while declaring state of emergency, said that a Supreme Court ruling that overturned "terrorism" convictions against nine opposition leaders was illegal.

"The arrest of the Supreme Court's chief justice and political figures are also reasons for concern", the ministry added. No details were given about the investigation or any charges against them. The whereabouts of the court's other two judges were not known Tuesday morning.

Shortly before he was taken in by the police, Gayoom posted a video message to his supporters on Twitter.

Former President Gayoom was charged with bribery and attempting to overthrow the government, according to his lawyer.

"We have contacted our customers there and there doesn't seem to be any problem as of now and there haven't been any cancellations as the Maldives government has issued a statement". Tourism now dominates the economy, with wealthy foreigners flown to hyper-expensive resort islands.

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen imposes emergency in Maldives. The two men are now political enemies. He and Gayoom are now political allies in an opposition alliance.

Under the terms of emergency, judges are no longer granted special privileges if they are facing arrest.

Yameen has run the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, with an iron hand since 2013. He has been living in exile in Britain since 2016 after being given asylum when he traveled there on medical leave from prison.

The court order opens the way for a return to the normal functioning of Parliament, which, the statement said, is a fundamental pillar of democracy.

China, Australia, the United States, Finland and Denmark updated their travel advice during the latest unrest.

New Delhi sent troops to the Maldives in 1988 to foil a coup, purportedly involving foreign mercenaries. Maldives also imports items, including essential commodities, that are restricted to other countries.


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