Maldives tense as President declares state of emergency

Maldives was tense late this evening after President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared a state of emergency.

The President’s office said that President Yameen had declared a state of emergency, under Article 253 of the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives, for the next 15 days.

During this time, though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected.

The Government of Maldives however assured all Maldivians and the international community that the safety of all Maldivians and foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives, will be ensured.

Meanwhile, Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed said the declaration of a state of emergency was unconstitutional and illegal.

“Nobody in the Maldives is required to, nor should, follow this unlawful order,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed on Monday spoke to the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed regarding the current situation in the Maldives. Nasheed and the Chief Justice discussed the breakdown of rule of law and Government institutions and expressed concern over the “extremely worrying” developments.

Nasheed expresses concerns over President Yameen’s Government’s deliberate delay in implementing the Supreme Court ruling to immediately release political prisoners.

In the days since the ruling, members of the international community have all called upon the Government to abide by the apex court’s ruling and restore law and order.

Nasheed welcomes these statements and ongoing efforts made by the joint opposition to remind the Government of its constitutional duties.

Nasheed further notes the repeated statements made by the Supreme Court clarifying that there are no legal obstructions in the implementation of their order. In his continued delay and in his instructions to his Attorney General and the Security Services, President Yameen and government officials continue to violate Article 141 of the Constitution which states, “all judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, High Court and such courts as established by law”.

Nasheed said he was also deeply alarmed by reports of the Chief Justice, and other justices facing intimidation and increasing pressure by the authorities following the ruling. Reports of the Chief Justice, Justice Ali Hameed and the Administrator of the Department of Judicial Administration having to resort to confinement within the Supreme Court building due to increased intimidation is extremely concerning.

Nasheed said the deliberate refusal by the Government to uphold the constitution further destabilizes the Maldives and wider Indian Ocean security.

President Nasheed continues to engage with concerned international partners, including India and other neighbouring countries, seeking resolutions to the ongoing crisis and urges India to act swiftly. (Colombo Gazette)