Male (Maldives), Feb 6: Hours after Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Declared Emergency in the country amidst increasing protests in the capital Male, Former President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed and Judicial administrator Hassan Saeed were arrested by the police. The arrests indicate crackdown on the opposition has intensified.
No details on the investigation or charges have been reported so far. Gayoom ruled for nearly 30 years until the year 2008, and is now in the opposition. The former president – the president’s half-brother – and his son-in-law were arrested after the police broke down the door of his residence.
A former speaker of parliament Abdulla Shahid took to Twitter to inform about his arrest. “Former President Maumoom Abdul Gayoom and his son in law arrested by Special Operations @PoliceMv after breaking down the door to their residence. #MaldivesInCrisis #StateOfEmergency,” he tweeted. (Also Read: Maldives Supreme Court Did Not Seek Assistance From Indian Government)
“First 8 hrs of State of emergency: Supreme Court raided, Mohamed Nadheem arrested, Pres. Maumoon arrested, SC Judge Ali Hameed arrested, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed arrested, Judicial administrator arrested. State of emergency declared just not to obey SC order? Is SoE Lawful?” said a tweet from Team Maumoon confirming his arrest.
In a video, Gayoom urged his supporters to “remain strong” and said that he has not “done anything to warrant arrest”. The police were also dispatched to the Supreme Court, according to the latest report.
The turmoil in Maldives started after President Abdulla Yameen refused to obey a Supreme Court court order asking him to release political dissidents. The court had also ruled that the 2015 trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is living in exile, had been unconstitutional.
Following this, the country’s police commissioner pledged that he would enforce the court’s ruling. He was later sacked by the President Yameen. The army has been ordered to resist any attempt made to impeach or remove the President.
The crisis intensified on Monday when President Yameen declared a state of emergency in Maldives for 12 days. He banned public gatherings and gave powers to security forces to make arrests.
Reacting to the current situation in Maldives, the United States said it was “troubled and disappointed”. “Despite being elected in 2013 with the support of a broad coalition, President Yameen has systematically alienated his coalition, jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure, deprived elected Members of Parliament of their right to represent their voters in the legislature, revised laws to erode human rights, especially freedom of expression, and weakened the institutions of government by firing any officials who refuse orders that run contrary to Maldivian law and its Constitution,” the State Department said.
The Indian government, on Monday, advised Indian nationals to avoid all unnecessary travel during the emergency period in Maldives. “Prevailing political developments in Maldives & resultant law & order situation is a matter of concern for GoI. Indian nationals are advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice,” said Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
“Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings,” the statement added.