Amidst Emergency, Former Maldives President Nasheed Requests 'Physical Presence' Of India

Saul Bowman
February 7, 2018

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago, was plunged into turmoil on February 1 when its Supreme Court issued a shock ruling that overturned criminal convictions against nine of Yameen's opponents, including exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed, and ordered those in jail be freed.

Mohamed Nasheed, the country's exiled former president whose 13-year jail sentence the Supreme Court anulled last week, called the state of emergency "tantamount to a declaration of martial law in the Maldives".

Soldiers forced their way into the Supreme Court building and arrested two of the tribunal's four justices.

The crisis, which has included repeated rounds of clashes between police and opposition protesters, began when the Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that that all politicians opposed to Yameen, including Nasheed, be released.

Police arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, Al Jazeera reported.

Nasheed has called for Yameen to be removed from power.

"The emergency means the Supreme Court activities are suspended and nobody is in charge of the judiciary". "I have not done anything to be arrested", he said.

The decree is "unconstitutional and illegal", he said in a statement.


"The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India".

President Yameen gave a televised address to the country on Tuesday, saying judges had been plotting a coup. He also urged the United States to block financial transactions of Yameen's government.

"We needed to find out if there was any link between the sudden change in the mentality of the chief justice and his new found riches".

The Government of Maldives wishes to assure the Maldivian people and the worldwide community that the safety of all Maldivians and foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives will be ensured, the announcement said.

According to industry estimates, around 60, 000 Indians travel to Maldives every year and October to March being the peak season now 4500 Indian tourists are estimated to be present at the island nation.

Nasheed is among a total of nine individuals whom the apex court declared were subject to unfair judicial proceedings and therefore can not be kept in prison.

Back during his presidency, Nasheed had drawn world attention to the Maldives by conducting an underwater cabinet meeting, with the ministers wearing scuba diving suits, to highlight the dangers posed by global warming to low-lying island nations like his own.

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