A Maldives policeman charges with baton towards protesters after the government declared a 15-day state of emergency in Male, Maldives, early Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. The Maldives government declared a 15-day state of emergency Monday as the political crisis deepened in the Indian Ocean nation amid an increasingly bitter standoff between the president and the Supreme Court. 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. AP/PTI.
Exiled former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed today asked India to intervene militarily to resolve the ongoing political crisis in the Maldives amid a deepening confrontation between the judiciary and President Abdulla Yameen, who has declared a state of emergency and arrested the country's top judge.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after President Yameen declared a state of emergency yesterday. No details were given about the investigation or any charges against them.
Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has allied himself with the Opposition, was also detained at his home.
President Yameen accused judges of plotting to overthrow him and said the emergency is to investigate this plot.
"We had to find out how thick the plot or coup was," he said in a televised address to the nation today.
Concerned over political turmoil in Maldives, India, which is monitoring the situation very "closely", yesterday asked its nationals not to undertake non-essential travels to the island nation until further notice.
Nasheed, whose Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) functions from Colombo, appealed for India's help.
"We would like the Indian government to send an envoy, backed by its military, to free the judges and the political detainees, including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, from their detention and to bring them to their homes. We are asking for a physical presence," Nasheed said in his tweet.
The picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago, which has seen a number of political crisis since the ouster of its first democratically-elected president Nasheed in 2012, plunged into a deep political chaos last Thursday when the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".
The nine political leaders included Nasheed.
The Yameen government refused to implement the ruling, prompting a wave of protests in Maldives capital, Male.
Nasheed said Yameen has illegally declared martial law.
"President Yameen's announcement 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. This declaration is unconstitutional and illegal. Nobody in the Maldives is required to, nor should, follow this unlawful order," he said.
"We must remove him from power. The people of the Maldives have a legitimate request to world governments, especially to India and the United States", said Nasheed, who is currently in Sri Lanka.
He also asked the US to ensure that all American financial institutions stop all transactions of the Yameen regime's leaders.
Reacting to these developments, the US today said it was "troubled" and "disappointed" by the declaration of a state of emergency by Yameen and asked him to comply with the rule of law and implement the Supreme Court ruling.
"The US calls on President Yameen, the army, and police to comply with the rule of law, implement the Supreme Court ruling and the rulings of the criminal court, ensure the full and proper functioning of the Parliament, and restore constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people and institutions of the Maldives," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in Washington.
Earlier, Nasheed also expressed concern over Yameen's deliberate delay in implementing the Supreme Court ruling to immediately release political prisoners.
"This deliberate refusal by the government to uphold the Constitution further destabilises the Maldives and wider Indian Ocean security," Nasheed said.
Nasheed, 50, the country's first democratically-elected leader -- was sentenced to 13 years in jail on terror charges in March 2015 over the arbitrary arrest of chief criminal judge Abdullah Muhammed during his presidency.
He was granted asylum in the UK after he was authorised to seek medical treatment there amid mounting foreign pressure.
Nasheed was narrowly defeated in 2013 by President Yameen. Nasheed says his conviction on terror charges was politically motivated.
The Maldivian government holds that Nasheed is convicted of a crime and is wanted in the Maldives to serve a jail sentence. Nasheed said he will seek UN support to ensure he is allowed to contest this year's election.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Maldives reportedly said there were no safety issues for foreign nationals working in the country or tourists after India and China issued a travel advisory for their nationals.
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