President's Address to the Nation on the eve of Republic Day

Aaron Brown
February 7, 2018

Hours after the emergency was declared, security forces in riot gear and blue camouflage stormed the Supreme Court building, arresting two of its judges, including chief Justice Abdulla Saeed.

On Monday morning, Maldives capital Male remained tense, with the opposition and general public unrelentingly asking President Yameen to step down and allow a new leadership to take charge.

Yameen has rejected adhering to the court, which last week ordered the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of elected members of parliament.

Security forces are reported to have entered the Supreme Court following his refusal to carry out its ruling that jailed opposition leaders should be freed.

Soldiers forced their way into the SC and arrested judges, as police used pepper spray to disperse protesters outside the court.

The supreme court's judgment quashed the criminal conviction of former president Mohamed Nasheed, paving the way for the exiled opposition leader's return to the Maldives to contest upcoming elections - in which Mr Yameen had expected to run virtually unchallenged.

"President (Abdulla) Yameen has illegally declared martial law and overrun the state".

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The President, army, and police have also failed to obey ‎a lawful Supreme Court ruling, contrary to the Constitution and rule of law.

Early on Tuesday opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was charged with bribery and attempting to overthrow the government, his lawyer said on Twitter. Gayoom, the half-brother of the country's former leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has crushed the Opposition in the Maldives by targeting high-profile leaders. "President Yameen should resign immediately".

For their part, India and the USA said they were "concerned" and troubled by the emergency decree, while the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Germany urged Yameen to lift it and restore civil liberties.

Delhi is now very much aligned with former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is in exile in Sri Lanka.

"The President has been compelled to declare a state of emergency due to the risk now posed to national security", the statement from the President's office had said.

In 2016, Nasheed sought political asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) after travelling there on medical leave from prison.

The crisis comes after five years of roll-backs on a number of democratic reforms in the country, and Mr Yameen's opponents have said the 58-year-old must be removed from office.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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