wnol.info February 19 2018


As Yameen's rule tighten, emergency declared in Maldives

February 19 2018, 07:49 | Irvin Gilbert

Maldives declares state of emergency as Supreme Court judges arrested

State of Emergency was Declared in the Maldives

"On behalf of the Maldivian people we humbly request India to send envoy, backed by its military, to release judges and political detainees".

Army chief Ahmed Shiyam has warned that he "will not stand by and watch" or obey "unlawful orders" from the Supreme Court.

Amnesty International also demanded the release of the judges and opposition politicians it says were arbitrarily detained.

He also called on the U.S.to stop government officials from making transactions through US banks. But he claimed the Supreme Court's had acted "hastily" and argued that his actions were created to prevent a coup.

Addressing the nation on state television, he said he had acted to prevent a coup, and suggested that the judges had chosen to side with his opponents because they were being investigated for corruption.

The tumult comes during the peak tourism season in Maldives, which earned $2.7 billion in 2016 from holidaymakers visiting luxury hotels and dive resorts scattered round the myriad tiny islands and coral atolls.

The Maldives' strategic location in the Indian Ocean makes it of interest to China and Mr Yameen has carefully fostered ties with Beijing, meaning that an Indian intervention could risk a broader confrontation with China.

It also paves the way for Mohamed Nasheed to return and run for President.

Gayoom, the half brother of the Maldives' current president, is now a leader of the political opposition. But he refused to be drawn on what exactly this meant.

What did the ex-president say?

Mr Gayoom was detained at his residence along with his son-in-law.

He also asked the U.S. to restrict Maldivian leaders' transactions through USA banks. "We must remove him from power".

Ten years ago, the Maldives became a multiparty democracy, after three decades of autocratic rule of former strongman and Yameen's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

India has been concerned over the recent signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Maldives and China.

How did we get here?

Yameen's moves to shut down parliament and order armed troops to stage a dawn raid on the Supreme Court have sparked global concern and warnings against travel to the upmarket holiday paradise.

The US had earlier said it was "troubled" and "disappointed" by the declaration of emergency by Yameen, and asked him to comply with the rule of law and implement the Supreme Court ruling.

The move also included an order for the government to restore the seats of 12 legislators sacked for defecting from Yameen's party, giving the opposition a the majority in the assembly and meaning they could potentially impeach the president.

Police arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, hours after the government declared a state of emergency.

On Tuesday, the Yameen government also arrested Gayoom, who served as the President of Maldives from 1978 till 2008, for allegedly plotting a coup.

In a video posted online, the ex-president addressed his supporters (in Divehi), saying that he had not "done anything to warrant arrest" while urging them to "remain strong".

Earlier in the day, according to media reports, the security forces arrested the top judge after the declaration of the state of emergency.

What does this mean for tourists?

If India climbs this roller coaster with Maldives, it will only be a matter of time before one group of conspirators or the other throws us down, and we will have nothing but bruises or worse to show for it.



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