Maldives Leader Declares State of Emergency, Ex President Arrested

Maldives Leader Declares State of Emergency, Ex President Arrested

Maldivian president Abdulla Yameen has declared a state of emergency in the country on Monday, a few days after the island nation was plunged deeper into a crisis caused by Yameen's refusal to obey a Supreme Court court order to free jailed opponents.

The turmoil began when President Abdulla Yameen refused to obey a court order to release political dissidents. The verdict "resulted in the disruption of the functions of the executive power, and the infringement of national security and public interest".

On Sunday, the Opposition MPs signed a resolution, calling on the worldwide community to impress upon the Maldives government the need to respect the rule of law, and implement last Thursday's Supreme Court ruling.

Yameen, who critics accuse of corruption, misrule and rights abuses, has also suspended the country's parliament, where the opposition have a majority.

Soon after the emergency declaration on Monday, soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court building.

The United Nations, Australia, Britain, Canada, India and the U.S. previously welcomed the court's decision, while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the weekend called for "restraint" as the crisis escalated.

A battle between rulers and the Supreme Court has been escalating, with Yameen's allies accusing the court of trying to bring down the government.

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Opposition supporters have staged street protests lobbying the government to obey the court order and have urged the worldwide community to do what it can to persuade the government to obey the ruling.

Having defied the court ruling to release the detainees, President Abdulla Yameen declared an emergency and ordered security forces to seize control of the court and arrest the chief justice and another judge.

The United States said it was "troubled and disappointed" by the move and called on Yameen to comply with the rule of law.

The US State Department has criticized Yameen's actions.

The trial was widely condemned by worldwide rights groups.

The Maldives' attorney general warned the country's Supreme Court on yesterday that a move to unseat the president would be unconstitutional, amid a political crisis that has left the government in chaos since late last week.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of opposition politicians.

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The Government has also said the court has not properly responded to letters citing problems with implementing its order, including that the cases against the political prisoners are at different legal stages.

"Security forces have been deployed in the capital Malé in response to political developments".

She says president Yameen Abdul Gayoom, has "systematically alienated his coalition, jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure" since his election in 2013. Clashes have erupted between police and the opposition supporters, and soldiers occupied the parliament building to stop legislators from entering.

Yameen has cracked down on civil liberties since coming to power in 2013, imprisoning or forcing into exile almost every politician who opposes him.

However the verdict was internationally condemned and he was given political asylum in the United Kingdom the following year after being allowed to travel there for medical treatment.

"Instead of respecting and implementing the Supreme Court's ruling, the government is riding roughshod over any notion of justice and arbitrarily detaining members of the opposition".

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