Maldives leader orders arrests of Supreme Court judges

Maldives leader orders arrests of Supreme Court judges

Maldives leader orders arrests of Supreme Court judges

The chief justice of Maldives Supreme Court, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, have been arrested by the country's police as the political crisis facing the nation worsens.

Meanwhile, his main political rival called on India to send a military-backed envoy to free the imprisoned justices and opposition leaders.

Nasheed said he was calling for a "physical presence", making clear he wants India to send troops to the Maldives.

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

The government of the Indian Ocean archipelago has imposed a state of emergency and arrested two senior judges and a former president.

The starting point of the turmoil was when the atoll nation's Supreme Court pronounced a judgement releasing key political prisoners, including Yameen's opponent and former president, Mohamed Nasheed, who is now in exile in Sri Lanka.

The declaration granted him power to raid the court, where two justices were arrested, while opposition leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, 82, was charged with bribery and attempting to overthrow the government.

Security forces entered the Supreme Court building, and former State President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was detained.

"We expect the authorities of the Maldives to abide by the ruling and for the government to engage in inclusive dialogue with the leaders of all political parties". "We had to find out how thick the plot or coup was", he said.

Gayoom posted a recorded video on social media, claiming he was being taken to the prison island of Dhoonidhoo, "I have not committed any crime".

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said President Gayoom had "systematically alienated his coalition, jailed or exiled every major opposition political figure" since being elected in 2013.

Hours after the emergency was declared, soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court building, where the judges were believed to be taking shelter, said Ahmed Maloof, an opposition member of Parliament. "He has no democratic mandate to govern and must resign immediately".

He was granted medical leave in 2016 and travelled to Britain where he was granted asylum.

Officials said the government is in discussion with other countries who are "concerned about the situation" and the interest of its citizens living in the island nation is at the top of New Delhi's mind.

Related news