Maldives crisis deepens as opposition seeks Indian intervention

Maldives Supreme Court annuls own order freeing prisoners

Maldives crisis deepens as opposition seeks Indian intervention

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.

"President Yameen's announcement today - which declares a State of Emergency, the banning of fundamental freedoms, and the suspension of the Supreme Court - is tantamount to a declaration of martial law in the Maldives".

The government did not comment on soldiers entering the Supreme Court building or on Mr Gayoom's arrest, but the president's main rival, who lives in exile, urged people not to obey what he called an "unlawful order".

The government of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has moved to assert its power since the Supreme Court ordered several imprisoned opposition politicians to be freed late last week. Security forces broke into the Supreme Court to arrest two Supreme Court judges, including the Chief Justice, early on Tuesday.

On February 1, the Maldives' Supreme Court overturned terrorism charges against nine opponents of Yameen and ordered the release of those opposition leaders jailed and the restitution of 12 opposition legislators.

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Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the opposition, was detained at his home.

What was the Supreme Court ruling?

"This state of emergency is the only way I can determine how deep this plot, this coup, goes", Mr Yameen said.

The decree is "unconstitutional and illegal", he said in a statement. "He has no democratic mandate to govern and must resign immediately".

Adding: "We would also like the U.S. government to ensure that United States financial institutions stop all US$ financial transactions of the regime leaders in the Maldives".

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Judges are "without any food now", Suood said, adding that the chief justice asked the public "to protect him and the institution".

The President has refused to comply with a court order to release political prisoners, despite growing worldwide pressure and concern.

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

Yameen has run the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, with an iron hand since 2013.

India, which said it was "disturbed" over the situation in the archipelago nation, has already issued a travel advisory as part of the SOP but officials would not confirm one of its crucial aspects pertaining to keeping troops on standby. Nasheed says his conviction on terror charges was politically motivated.

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