Maldives’ Chief Justice, SC judge arrested; India issues travel advisory

Written by February 6, 2018 08:46

Male: Maldives police arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another Supreme Court judge, hours after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency for 15 days.

Police said, in a Twitter message, they have arrested Saeed and Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed in an ongoing investigation.

A former president of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who was in power for three decades, was also arrested last night as a crackdown on the opposition intensifies.

Gayoom was detained after the government declared the state of emergency, suspending Parliament and sending police to the Supreme Court.

President Abdulla Yameen has refused to comply with a court order to release political prisoners. The army has been ordered to resist any move to impeach him. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a statement called on President Yameen to lift the state of emergency.

The emergency declaration came after standoff between President and Supreme court where the former refused to comply by the court order to release opposition leaders. The declaration gives sweeping powers to security forces for arrest and detention while limiting the role of Supreme Court and parliament.

Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for 30 years, is also half brother of President Yameen and both belong to same party. However, Gayoom has fallen off with President last year and allied with opposition forces citing Presidents’ dictatorial tactics. Another former President Mohammed Nasheed, who is currently under exile, termed the emergency as unconstitutional and called upon people not to follow orders.

Meanwhile, India has advised its nationals to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls in Maldives until further notice. In a travel advisory, the Ministry of External Affairs also alerted Indian expatriates in the island nation to the need for heightened security awareness and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings. The Ministry expressed concern over the prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation.