United Nations chief calls on Maldives to respect court

by Abel Hampton February 5, 2018, 0:42
United Nations chief calls on Maldives to respect court

Mohamed Anil, seated beside the army and police chief on Sunday morning, told reporters that the government has received information that a Supreme Court order to arrest President Yameen was imminent.

"Absolute breakdown of law and order".

Yameen had taken over as the President after winning a controversial runoff against Nasheed. "Security services must uphold the constitution and serve the Maldivian people".

The president of the Maldives has fired a national police chief for the second time in three days, as political unrest grows after a court ordered the release and retrial of political prisoners, including an ex-president. As of Sunday, no prisoners had been released. He said the government's fear of losing their majority could be the reason for the postponement.

The court had ordered the immediate release of high-profile prisoners and held that "the prisoners were free until fair trials could be conducted without undue influence".

In the face of the present looming crisis in the strategically-located Indian Ocean island nation, with its Supreme Court ordering the freeing of political prisoners, including former President Mohammed Nasheed, and President Yameen appearing to defiantly ignore the directive, India appears to have taken a stronger line, although it's the follow-through that is important. He has since been living in Sri Lanka.

Opponents of the Maldives government have clashed with police on the streets of the capital as they demanded the release of imprisoned politicians whose convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court.

Earlier, Opposition parties had appealed to the global community including the UN, EU, and India to impress upon the Maldives Government to respect the Supreme Court ruling. It also restored the seats of 12 legislators who had been sacked for defecting from Yameen's party.

On Sunday two opposition lawmakers returning to the country were detained by police. Both arrested - Ilham Ahmed and Abler Mohamed, were among the 12 parliamentarians reinstated by the Supreme Court.

The Attorney General also said that Article 100 of the Maldives' Constitution very clearly states the terms under which a President may be removed from Office.

Perhaps that's why the President has suddenly stopped a Parliament session from continuing, and given the impression of issuing a threat to Supreme Court judges at a rally.

The Maldives, known for luxury tourist resorts, became a multiparty democracy 10 years ago after decades of autocratic rule. But it lost much of its democratic gains after Gayoom was elected in 2013 election.

He has maintained that President Yameen has used his wealth to purchase the loyalties of members of the legislature, judiciary and special operations unit of the police.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has been set to run for re-election this year virtually unopposed, with all of his opponents either jailed or exiled.

But the 58-year-old leader of the Maldives, who critics accuse of corruption and misrule, remained defiant as he made his first public appearance since the court order on Saturday.

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