Maldives police arrest chief justice, another judge under state of emergency

Posted February 07, 2018

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency on Monday.

Nasheed, 50, who lives in self-exile in Britain, also requested the U.S. "to stop all financial transactions of Maldives regime leaders going through U.S. banks".

The Supreme Court's shock decision last week to order the release of political dissidents and quash the conviction of exiled opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, among others, sparked the crisis.

Earlier today, the Maldives police allegedly used force and pepper spray on a group of people gathered outside Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed's residence in Male to stop his arrest. The whereabouts of the court's other two judges were not known Tuesday morning.

A 15-day state of emergency has been declared in the Maldives.

In a statement issued after the state of emergency was announced on state television, Yameen Abdul Gayoom said that "during this time, though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected".

The ruling has energized an opposition that hopes Nasheed - still in exile - will be allowed to return home to run against Yameen in a presidential election due in October.

On Tuesday, independent news site Maldives Independent said its website was "under attack" and believe it was "designed to coincide with the state of emergency".

Maldives police arrest chief justice, another judge under state of emergency
Maldives police arrest chief justice, another judge under state of emergency

Security forces stormed the Supreme Court complex to take the jurists into custody.

Gayoom led the Maldives for 30 years until 2008, and is now in opposition.

Guterres's statement comes after President Abdulla Yameen ordered a state of emergency in the country and gave sweeping powers to the law enforcement agencies and the military.

In addition to ordering the release of the political prisoners, the court also reinstated 12 lawmakers who had been ousted for switching allegiance to the opposition. "Even the whole opposition, all our leaders, all our supporters in a fear that we all might get arrested anytime", he said.

Yameen has been president since 2013.

The exiled Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed called on the United States and India Tuesday (Feb 6) to help remove the country's president from office, saying he had "illegally" declared martial law.

Shortly before his arrest he sent a message on Twitter saying a large deployment of police had surrounded his house: "To protect me or to arrest me?"

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.