President Abdulla Yameen of Republic of Maldives, had declared a 15-day nationwide State of Emergency granting law enforcement sweeping powers and suspending parts of the constitution. The move came a week after the Maldivian Supreme Court overturned criminal convictions against nine of the President’s opponents and ordered him to free those in jail.
The move, which gives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom power to arrest and detain people, reflects a power struggle between the island nation’s Supreme Court and its government.
“During this time, though certain rights will be restricted, general movements, services and businesses will not be affected,” said a statement from the office of the President.
According to sources, the situation in the Indian Ocean nation began when the Supreme Court ordered the release of nine opposition leaders, but Yameen refused to comply.
Per, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, despite the declaration, there will be no curfew and that services and business “will not be affected.”
There are also no restrictions on traveling to or from the popular holiday destination, and all transportation remains operational.
Situated to the southwest of India and Sri Lanka, the Maldives are a chain of atolls home to almost 400,000 people and hugely popular as a tourist destination, especially for Chinese visitors.
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was also arrested on Monday, according to his family. The former leader stated earlier in the day that police has surrounded his residence. “To protect me or to arrest me? No idea,” he tweeted before reportedly being taken into custody.
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is the half-brother of the current President, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and ruled the country for 30 years until 2008.
Opposition supporters have staged street protests lobbying the government to obey the court order and have urged the international community to do what it can to persuade the government to obey the ruling.
“Once again, dissent and critical voices are coming under attack in the Maldives,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s South Asia deputy director. “Instead of respecting and implementing the Supreme Court’s ruling, the government is riding roughshod over any notion of justice and arbitrarily detaining members of the opposition.”
During the emergency period, the Maldives President said, “the safety of all Maldivians and foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives will be ensured.”